Benjamin Franklin told us that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If that much is true, then we should have a very healthy fall. The season of plenty has made its way into our kitchen in various varieties and recipes over the last few weeks. It got me to thinking, how else can I keep the doctor away?!
The World’s Healthiest Foods (www.whfoods.com) is visited over 20 million times a year by those seeking out the healthiest foods on the planet – probably plenty of those 20 million being moms like me who want to get the best food into their little ones. If you have a particularly picky eater, you’ll want to check out the list of the 127 healthiest foods – those that pack a real health punch by virtue of their nutrient density.
For our Top Ten this Tuesday, I’ve picked 10 of those 127 to share with you – 10 that are likely to be kid-approved – to look at with renewed love and affection. Add more of these to your diet, and especially your children’s – and feel good about it. You’re doing a great job!
- Apple – Proven to have positive effects on blood sugar, cardiovascular health, and digestion. The apple is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and even that good bacteria we like lingering in our kids’ intestines.
- Quinoa – A huge hit in our house! With a texture similar to pastina, this is a great kid-friendly ingredient. Often thought to be a grain, it’s actually a seed from the same family that includes known powerhouses of health like spinach and beets. Quinoa is a good source of “good fats” and protein – two things I like to get in my non-meat eater. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared 2013 "The International Year of the Quinoa." Given its anti-inflammatory benefits (and possibly even attributes that help with obesity) I’m hopeful that this will become a mainstay in the American kitchen.
- Prunes – Their image got a makeover in recent years with the renaming of the prune to “dried plums.” I find them individually wrapped like a giant raisin. You know of the fiber benefits that help regularity, especially with little ones, but dried plums also provide food for the good bacteria food in the digestive track, liver and muscles while helping to reduce risks for cancer and high cholesterol. Sweet and chewy, most kids will love this treat!
- Eggs - As I said, I’m often looking for protein sources for my non-meat eater. Eggs are an excellent sources of protein as well as many vitamins, all for a very low calorie intact. Eggs have even been proven to have cardiovascular benefits – not risks as once though – as long as you don’t pair them with bacon or sausage!
- Tomatoes – A pint of richly colored grape tomatoes don’t last long in our house, and that’s a good thing. Tomatoes are an incredible source of antioxidants and lycopene, offering tremendous cardiovascular support. But, after seeing my oldest son break two arms this past summer, I’m pushing tomatoes even more – lycopene from tomatoes are shown to support bone health!
- Cinnamon – I add to our apples, our pancakes, and our sweet potatoes and the kids love it! Cinnamon has actually been used for centuries as a medicine. The essential oils are known to be anti-microbial and anti-fungal – meaning they’ll help in fighting off infections and even yeast. Sprinkle a little on your organic yogurt for an extra punch of those good bacteria. As if that’s not reason enough, just smelling cinnamon boosts brain activity! I’m thinking a little cinnamon on the stovetop before the school day starts is sounding pretty good!
- Green Peas – We LOVE peas at our house, which is a running joke for my dad, “Bepa.” The grandkids tease him all the time that we are going to make Pea Pancakes with the little green gem he loathes… just like my sister and I teased him when we were little! I always thought peas were too sweet and starchy to be of true benefit (especially since everyone BUT Bepa loves them!), but it turns out peas are loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients as well as omega 3 fats known to support healthy blood sugar and cardiovascular systems while lowering risks for certain cancers. Peas are also said to maintain their nutrient value when frozen – making for a super easy dinner staple. Pea Pancakes it is, Bepa!!
- Navy Beans – They’re actually a creamy white color, but they are a delicious snack. My little one ate canned beans, rinsed, like candy when she was younger. These mild beans are a tremendous boost to digestion as they are an outstanding source of fiber. Navy beans also offer up fat-free protein and lots of iron (again, filling the bill if you have a vegetarian toddler). Combined, the nutrients in navy beans are excellent for energy… just what kids need, right?
- Flaxseed – We keep mentioning those all-important omega-3s that we’ve come to associate with improved heart health, but according to The World’s Healthiest, none is a better source than flaxseed. Even better news is that flaxseed is not nutrient compromised in any way when cooked --- so add it to everything baked (or even to your smoothies and dry cereal) for an added boost of those omega-3s (along with lots of antioxidants and a good amount of fiber). jhbjhbhhhhhjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjhhh
- Bell Peppers – If you shy away from serving the kids peppers, don’t. Red, yellow, orange and green peppers are especially sweet and the snappy nature makes them fun to eat while providing almost 200% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C. Now that sounds like a healthy food for cold and flu season!
Thanks to www.whfoods.com (The George Mateljan Foundation) for a world of information! Check it out for yourself!