Nutritious meals for your little ones is a goal of many parents, they want their children to grow up healthy and make healthy choices. It's not as easy as it sounds, however. Busy days, long nights and picky toddlers make for a difficult meal equation.
Rather then go for the seemingly easy fix of pre-packged meals or fast food, we have time-efficient and more importantly tasty meals that contain the superfoods your little one needs. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that contain the nutrition and minerals your children need to be healthy and have strong immune systems. Tired of trying to sneak in leafy green, broccoli or carrots to no avail?
With the help of Lara Field, MS, RD, LDN owner and founder of FEED (Forming Early Eating Decisions) which helps parents create healthy eating practices with their children, she breaks down which superfoods to make today!
Eggs are packed with protein, which means that they should prevent mid-morning hunger. This fun recipe is perfect for the nautical loving child, with a cute and colorful sail. "They're one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which is essential for growing children," says Field.
12 hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons vinegar (white or cider)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers
1. Peel the eggs, then slice each one in half to make boats. Place the yolks in a medium-size bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the mustard and the vinegar, then add the mayonnaise, stirring until the consistency is smooth but not soupy.
2. Next, make the sails. To do this, cut each pepper into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch squares and slice each square in half diagonally.
3. Fill the egg-white halves with the yolk mixture. Stick the sail upright into the filling and sprinkle with paprika.prevnext
"Avocados are one of the best first foods to try with your little one, they are loaded with folic acid, more potassium then a banana and lots of fiber." The mild taste make this superfood ideal for including it in a dish like this chocolate pudding where it mimics the texture and consistency of pudding and won't compete with the cocoa taste.
1 Large avocado, soft and ripe
1/4 cup cacao powder
3-6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1. Combine avocado, cacao powder, coconut milk, vanilla, coconut oil and honey in blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth.
2. Refrigerate for 30 minutesprevnext
"Black beans actually contain 10 times the antioxidants compared to oranges! High in fiber, which is always important for keeping your little one regular." This recipe is a creamy kid-friendly version of chicken salad using black beans as a colorful and healthy ingredient. Serve it with a side of sweet potato mash, fruit or one of our other superfood recommendations!
1 1/2 lb uncooked frozen boneless skinless chicken breast
15 oz can black beans, drained (or dried beans soaked overnight and cooked)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes OR 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
16 oz jar salsa
8 oz whole fat cream cheese
1. Put frozen chicken breasts in crock pot, cover with black beans, tomatoes and salsa.
2. Cook on high 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked.
Place block of cream cheese on top. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Stir to incorporate cream cheese into sauce.
Any fruit is good for your child, providing essential vitamins and minerals. "Blueberries in particular are great for growing little ones, not only a great antioxident, they also have been found to support brain function," says Field. These yogurt fruit pops are the perfect size for little mouths and pack an extra protein punch with yogurt!
Yogurt (can be greek yogurt)
Fresh diced fruit
Popsicle sticks, popsicle mold or silicone ice cube trays for bite-sized ones
Dice your fruit into small pieces. Layer the bottom of your tray with the fruit, then fill with yogurt. Pop your tray in the freezer. After about half an hour, just when the yogurt is just starting to freeze, place your popsicle sticks upright and place back in the freezer until completely frozen.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient that "Is quickly dissolved into the body, giving growing toddlers a boost of antioxidents and it has been associated with cancer prevention." Instead of going for a frozen pizza, try a homemade bagel mini pizza with strategically forming adorable critters
1 cup organic pizza sauce
8 bagels, split
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
Toppings of your choice; olive slices for lady bug dots
1. Heat oven to 425°F. Spread 1 tablespoon pizza sauce over each bagel half. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the cheese.
2. Arrange toppings on sandwiches to look like desired critters. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.prevnext
Sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious vegetables available. "They are rich in phyto-nutrients and high in vitamins A and C," explains Feed. This recipe incorporates the naturally sweet flavor of sweet potatoes as the foundation for a usually not so healthy breakfast favorite: french toast.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 slices spelt bread
4 cups sweet potato purée
5 cups milk
1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup
4 tsp ground cinnamon
agave nectar or maple syrup for drizzling
1. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cut each slice of bread into four lengthwise sticks.
2. Whisk the sweet potato purée with the eggs, milk and agave nectar. Add the cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Sink each stick from two slices of bread in the egg mixture and flip to coat completely. Place the egg-soaked bread 8 sticks at a time into the hot pan.
3. Cook for 3 mins and then flip. Cook for another 2 mins and remove from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of butter to the pan and cook the remaining sticks of bread. Stack and serve warm with maple syrup or agave nectar.prev