What is a “Super Food”? Super Foods are lower-calorie foods with higher than average nutrient or phytochemical content. They are ideal for minimizing the risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Just like Super Heroes protect the public, Super Foods protect our bodies.
We have carefully selected a list of Top 10 Super Foods for Kids that we believe provide the maximum amount of nutrition per serving for your growing child. Eating Super Foods makes it easy to eat healthy. The best part about Super Foods is that they are foods in their purest state, minimally processed if at all. No French fries, fruit roll-ups, or ranch flavored chips on this list!
Our Top 10 Super Foods for Kids are:
1. Beans and legumes
Black beans, kidney beans, soybeans (in the form of edamame, soy milk, or tofu), and lentils are best. Easy to throw beans in your next batch of home made soup or puree as a dip to be served with whole grain pitas or tortilla chips!
2. Dark chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate and cocoa nibs made the list. We love it melted and dipped in strawberries. Chocolate does have caffeine, so time its consumption carefully!
In-season citrus especially oranges, apples, cherries, red grapes, apricots, pomegranate, kiwi, papaya, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkins, bananas, and lots of berries — especially blueberries are best! Always keep a fresh, seasonal fruit bowl on the kitchen counter within arms-reach.
All tea, but especially green. Make sure it’s decaffeinated for kids. Combine with pomegranate juice and honey for a 1–2 punch and leave it in a pitcher for easy frig access!
5. Low-fat dairy, yogurt, and eggs
Use 0% fat Greek yogurt for smoothies and to replace sour cream. Kids love smoothies, so keep a big batch of fruit and yogurt smoothies handy – and don’t be surprised if it’s gone by Tuesday! Hard-boiled, cage-free eggs also make for a quick and filling snack on the go.
Although we keep a nut-free menu at all of our schools, nuts are widely considered a super food. Walnuts, almonds, and pecans are heart-healthy nuts with lots of fiber and antioxidants. Their small, hard shape make them unsafe for small children, but try replacing peanut butter with almond butter for your child’s next PB&J or grinding up walnuts in your next batch of blueberry muffins.
7. Salmon, tuna, other fatty fish
Salmon may very well be the perfect food, as their omega 3 fats have a long list of health benefits. Make sure it’s wild, not farm raised. Tuna fish sandwiches are another kid favorite, as long as you limit their frequency due to high levels of naturally occurring mercury.
Ground flax, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. Try ground flax in your next smoothie for a nutritional boost, or sprinkling some sunflower seeds in tonight’s pre-dinner salad. Fun, tasty, and easy to eat!
In-season carrots, spinach and kale, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potato, avocado, red bell peppers, asparagus, squash, brussel sprouts, eggplant, garlic and onions, and tomatoes are best!
10. Whole grains
Whole wheat and whole grain pastas, breads, crackers, brown rice, oats, quinoa, corn. Try white whole wheat if your kids complain about the heartiness of pure whole wheat. Popcorn and corn tortilla chips make a great whole-grain snack!
When it comes to kids, the best thing about Super Foods is that they match children’s expectations of how food should look. As a generation raised on Gummy Bears, M&Ms, Gatorade and Froot Loops, kids today equate bright colors with taste. Most Super Foods have high phytochemical content, making them naturally brightly colored. Kids love to see a food rainbow on their plates, and Super Foods make this visual easy to achieve.
To introduce the greatest variety of color on your child’s plate as well as maximize the nutritional benefit, we recommend combining Super Foods in creative ways. Examples include:
· 0% fat Greek yogurt with berries and granola
· Iced decaf green or black tea with all-natural 100% fruit juice
· Tuna fish salad on whole grain crackers
· Mashed black beans and salsa with tortilla chips
· Apple and banana slices with almond butter dip
However you choose to prepare them, Super Foods are a delicious way to foster healthy eating habits with your kids. So stock your kitchen with Super Foods today!