Super foods for toddlers

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I’m super exited to introduce you to Ashley, from Ashley’s Health blog, who is guest posting here today, with her great post on super foods for toddlers:

Being a parent brings on a whole variety of challenges, challenges that feel impossible to handle. It’s not easy to admit, but these challenges secretly make parenting such a valuable, rewarding experience. If you haven’t had kids yet, don’t worry it will be a thrill of a lifetime and you won’t regret it !

One big challenge that I’ve personally recognized, that’s a common struggle among parents, is getting  kids to eat healthy. Nutrition at the toddler stage plays a significant role in their development.  Some parents get that, and that’s why it’s truly challenging when children don’t want to have anything to do, with good and healthy food.

I know most children hate veggies. It’s a significant challenge to get kids to eat them. It doesn’t even matter if you hide the vegetables in other foods; kids just seem to smell them out and avoid them like the plague.

Sure, veggies are an acquired taste, but they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients that kids need, in order to grow healthy and strong. Therefore, the best way to give toddlers what they need is through superfoods, which disguise their benefits in a yummy taste.

1. Goji Berries.
Serve goji berries as an anytime snack. They have a sweet taste that kids love, and are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s not a small amount of antioxidants either, they’re are packed with antioxidants. With the technology available now, to check antioxidant level, I was amazed on how powerful goji berries were with increasing antioxidant levels. These antioxidants will build your child’s immune system. Goji berries also have tiny seeds hidden inside that offer extra fiber for toddlers.

2. Blueberries.
Blueberries contain rich antioxidants, and research suggests they help improve brain function. Serve them as a snack, or blend them together with water and freeze them for an afternoon blueberry ice pop. Many companies are creating snack foods with dried blueberries in them and I know my kids love them.

3. Tomatoes.
Kids pick tomatoes off their burgers, but they might not know that tomatoes are the main ingredient in pasta sauce. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which may help protect against many illnesses. Tomatoes can be an acquired taste, so for some toddlers it can be tough for them to consume. My big recommendation with tomatoes is to stay away from ketchups that are high in refined sugar. There are ketchups and pasta sauces that have no refined sugar in them and they’re really good. It’s good to get your toddler started on healthy tomato items.

4. Oatmeal.
Oatmeal with a little honey starts any breakfast right. It’s a fiber-rich grain, which digests slowly and gives your toddler plenty of energy through the morning. Granola also contains oats and makes a good snack when it’s combined with raisins, goji berries and nuts. Oatmeal is incredibly good for you. The problem is that food companies have killed the nutritional value of oatmeal. Once people buy the processed and sugared up oatmeal, they end up adding more sugared up processed ingredients to it, which ends up killing all of the value oatmeal really offers. Get your child started on really healthy natural oatmeal and it may surprise you how much happier your child will be.

5. Fruit.
Fruit of any type contains loads of vitamins and minerals for growing toddlers. Instead of chips and candy bars, replace them with berries, melon balls and apple slices. Fruit also contains fiber and keeps toddlers regular. If your budget doesn’t allow loads of fruit, opt for frozen fruits, which also make good snacks for total rehydration.

6. Sunflower Seeds.
Sunflower seeds have to be the most underrated, or least talked about superfood. These seeds are packed with valuable nutrients and antioxidants. The best part though is that kids love them to snack on. They work well for a small pre-meal snack because they aren’t going to make your toddler full. The vitamin E is what makes these seeds worth it. Watch out for the salted seeds, because thigh levels of sodium naturally kills the value these seeds offer.

7. Cocoa Powder or Dark Chocolate.
Kids can have their chocolate and enjoy it, thanks to cocoa powder’s benefits. Cocoa powder contains a high amount of flavonoids, which are known to improve heart and oral health. Some studies suggest, that they also protect skin from sun damage. Avoid processed cocoa powder that removes the flavonoids and contains more sugar. Kids can get addicted to milk chocolate, so it’s better to get them used to dark chocolate. When they want candy at the store, get them the darkest chocolate and it will impact their life for the positive. Opt for at least 70 percent cocoa powder or dark chocolate.

Other superfoods that toddlers could benefit from include broccoli, sweet potatoes and avocados. Shredding these foods and placing them in casseroles, burritos and salsas is a great way to hide them all, and still give your toddler foods that benefit their growing bodies.

If you’ve been having any troubles with getting your child to eat healthy, hopefully this helps. These are also really good health rules, that I believe parents should understand, if they’re trying to help their children eat healthier.

About the Author : Ashley Erikson.

I’m a happy mom of three healthy boys. They’ve taught me many valuable lessons over the past ten years and it’s been a roller coaster that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I started off my career as a physical trainer but recently I have begun my journey as a nutritionist. You can view my thoughts, and website at AshleysHealth.com

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