There are many healthy superfoods for toddlers that supply all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need. That is why picking the best ingredients to put in every meal is quite a task. It may be hard work, but it pays whenever your child finishes every meal you prepare.
What Are Superfoods?
There is no standard criteria for superfood, as the term was born from the health movement and popular culture. But in general, the term superfood is used to describe food that is:
- An excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals
- High in phytonutrients and antioxidants
- Helpful in the reduction of heart risk disease
- Readily available
In short, superfoods are packed with all the beneficial nutrients needed for good health and well-being. According to a study, consistently and religiously including superfoods in your diet can help reduce risks of degenerative diseases like diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
In addition, whole unprocessed food like plant-based foods that are high in nutrient value are considered superfoods.
Healthy Superfoods for Toddlers
Toddlers tend to eat more at this age because they are constantly active, which makes them hungry all the time. As a parent, you always need to be ready whenever your kid asks for a snack. Here are some healthy superfoods for toddlers that you can give your child. These can be given in the form of a snack or an additional ingredient to your cooking:
Malunggay (Moringa oleifera)
Malunggay is rich in iron, vitamin C and A, calcium and other essential nutrients. Sometimes called a “miracle tree”, it has a long list of benefits. To name a few, malunggay boosts the immune system, soothes digestive problems, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Breastfeeding women swears by malunggay, as it naturally increases milk production. Malunggay is a superfood that is great for everyone, especially for your little tot.
You can use malunggay in Filipino soup dishes like tinola (chicken soup) and beef/pork nilaga (boiled beef or pork). Another way for your toddler to enjoy the benefits of malunggay is by making malunggay tea. You can simply boil malunggay leaves in water or mix malunggay extract with calamansi or any citrus juices.
Spirulina (Arthrospira plantensis)
Spiruna is a blue-green algae that commonly comes in supplement or powder form. It has high levels of protein compared to other vegetables and it also contains beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals.
You can mix spirulina powder with sweet fruit shakes or smoothies, as well as fruit juices. Sprinkle spirulina powder on top of your toddler’s rice to add nutrients to your child’s food.
Avocado makes the list for healthy superfoods for toddlers because it is a nutrient-dense superfood that contains a high amount of nutrients but is surprisingly low in calories. It is abundant in nutrients such as folate, magnesium, fiber, potassium, omega-3, and an assortment of vitamins.
Adding avocado to your diet can help reduce your chances of getting certain types of cancer. It can also reduce the possibility of acquiring cardiovascular diseases.
If you want to give your toddler a not-so-sweet fruit, avocado will be a great choice. In the Philippines, avocado with sugar, powdered milk, and a little bit of ice is a common snack that both children and adults enjoy.
Chia seeds are a current favorite by lots of people nowadays since it’s packed with iron, anti-oxidants, calcium, fiber, omega-3’s, and protein.
You can mix chia seeds in your toddler’s oatmeal. Alternatively, you can make a pudding out of it.
Quick and easy chia seeds pudding: Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to ½ cup of milk and a teaspoon of honey or top it off with some fruits for sweetness. Put in the fridge for about 2 hours or overnight and have it for breakfast the next day.
Spinach is the epitome of all dark leafy vegetables is loaded with a bunch of nutrients like protein, beta carotene, vitamins A, E, B2, B6, and K. It is also rich in chlorophyll. As a result, it helps reduce the risks of cancer, improves digestion and eye health, as well as regulates blood pressure.
Spinach makes the cut for healthy superfoods for toddlers because it’s good for development. It can also help maintain clear vision up until adulthood.
When cooking, use spinach as an alternative to other veggies or simply add it to other ingredients. For example, instead of going for an all meat adobo, why not try spinach adobo? You can also use spinach in dishes such as laing (a coconut dish from the Bicol region), dinengdeng (a vegetable dish from the Ilocos region), and tinola (common chicken soup dish in the Philippines).
Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an important nutrient that helps reduce the risks of heart disease. It is also a good source of vitamins A, B’s, and D, as well as protein, potassium, and zinc.
Choosing salmon as one of your toddler’s main sources of protein will help in your child’s brain function and development.
When preparing your toddler’s food, you can use salmon as the main ingredient for sinigang ( a sour and savory soup dish in the Philippines).
Always remember to give your child the healthiest meals as much as possible using these healthy superfoods for toddlers.
Thinking what to feed to a toddler is quite a stressful task. It requires research to meticulously find healthier alternatives to foods you can simply buy at fast food.
Trying healthy superfoods for toddlers will help you save time and energy when preparing food. Some superfoods are in powder form so you can use it as toppings on rice or pasta.
Don’t be afraid to use superfoods in your home-cooked meals as these are essential for your toddler to grow smart, healthy, and strong
Learn more about Parenting, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.