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8 superfoods to boost your child’s diet – CHOC


A CHOC dietitian explains the benefits of superfoods for kids

By Joyelle Temming, registered dietitian at CHOC

What are superfoods?

“Superfood” is a nickname given to a food that offers exceptional health benefits and is packed with nutrients. There is no regulated definition for superfood, so there is no specific set of criteria that a food must meet.

Superfoods generally contain high amounts of:

  • Antioxidants (natural compounds that protect cells from damage and may lower the risk of certain diseases).
  • Flavonoids (found in plants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties).
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Fiber.
  • Healthy Fats.

Superfoods are associated with improving the immune system and heart health, reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and overall disease prevention.

While no one superfood can provide all the nutrients that your child needs, providing a variety of colorful foods will help keep them healthy. Incorporating superfoods with a healthy diet that is balanced in fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein will help provide all the essential nutrients.

8 superfoods with superpowers for kids

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries)

  • High in antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, and folate.
  • High in soluble fiber.
  • Contains flavonoids, which reduce the risk of certain heart conditions.

Tomatoes

  • High in antioxidants.
  • Contains lycopene, a carotenoid that has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and protect the skin from sun damage.

Sweet potatoes

  • Contains beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off cell-damaging free radicals and improves immunity.
  • Contains phytonutrients known to lower blood pressure.
  • High in vitamin A, which is vital for creating the pigment in the retina responsible for night vision.

Dark leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli

  • High in vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate.
  • Good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that promote healthy vision.
  • Gets its color from chlorophyll, which plays a role in hindering the growth of bacteria.
  • High in fiber.

Avocados

  • Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Contains more potassium than a banana.
  • High in fiber.

Salmon

  • High in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Contains essential fats that growing kids need for development.

Eggs

  • Contains high-quality protein for muscle growth.
  • Loaded with B vitamins and other minerals.
  • High in antioxidants that have protective effects on the eyes.

Whole grain oatmeal

  • High in soluble fiber which helps with cholesterol absorption and keeps blood sugar levels stable
  • Contains prebiotic fiber, which can positively alter certain bacteria in the gut and improve constipation
  • High in antioxidants

Try to focus on a variety of foods and include as many different colors of fruits and vegetables as possible in your child’s diet to keep them healthy.  No single superfood can give you all the nutrition you need!

Superfood recipes for families

Berry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup berries (frozen)
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Splashes of milk of choice (1%, Coconut, Almond)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • A handful of spinach
  • Sweetener of choice (honey, agave, maple syrup)

Toppings

Fresh blueberries/strawberries/banana, flaxseed, coconut flakes, granola

Directions

Place the frozen berries, ice cubes, milk, almond butter and spinach in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding additional milk as needed to make a thick consistency. Add sweetener to taste, if desired. Blend again. Pour into bowls and top with desired toppings.

Basic Overnight Oats

  • Oats. Old-fashioned oats work best for overnight oats. For a shorter soaking time, use quick oats, and for a longer one, use steel-cut oats.
  • Milk. Use cow’s milk or a fortified, unsweetened, plant-based milk of your choice at a 1:1 ratio with the oats. For example, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk per 1/2 cup (120 ml) of oats.
  • Chia seeds (optional). Chia seeds act like glue to bind the ingredients. Use 1/4 part chia seeds per 1 part oats. For instance, use 1/8 cup (30 ml) chia seeds per 1/2 cup (120 ml) oats.
  • Yogurt (optional). Yogurt adds extra protein and creaminess. Use a dairy or plant-based yogurt and adjust the amount to your preference.
  • Vanilla (optional). A dash of vanilla extract or vanilla bean adds a touch of flavor to your overnight oats.
  • Sweetener (optional). A little maple syrup, 2 to 3 chopped dates, or half a mashed banana can sweeten your overnight oats.

Preparation:

To prepare your overnight oats, simply combine all the ingredients and refrigerate them overnight in an airtight container.

The oats and chia seeds soak up the milk and soften overnight, yielding a pudding-like texture come the next morning.

Overnight oats keep for up to four days when refrigerated in an airtight container. That means you can easily batch-prepare larger portions of the base recipe and add your favorite toppings to individual portions throughout the week for variation.

7 Tasty and Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes (healthline.com)


Learn more about CHOC’s Clinical Nutrition Program

At CHOC, we specialize in providing a full continuum of pediatric nutrition services, including inpatient and outpatient services, depending on our patients’ needs.



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