How do you get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially lots of those magic super foods? If anyone has the answer to this, we have many BKK Kids community members who are interested in hearing your tips!
I’ve blended, smashed, made smoothies and lost sleep over countless creative dishes during the years in attempts to get more purple and green inside my kids. The most ‘accepted’ trick, by far, was kid friendly smoothies and ice lollies which serve as a quick on-the-go breakfast for teens, a treat for nephews on a hot day and ticks all those superfood and 5-A-Day boxes.
What Exactly Are Super Foods?
Superfoods are foods that have not been refined, processed or preserved and are very close to their original source. They are mostly plant based but also include some fish and dairy. Superfoods are nutritionally dense, providing kids bodies with essential fats, vitamins, minerals, lean protein and iron and minerals. Thus the term “Superfoods” was born as a group of nutritionally packed foods all of which benefit your kids health, contribute to the development of proper brain function and a strong immune system focused on a healthy lifestyle. Blueberries, salmon, kale and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the “Superfood” label. However, there is no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood as they don’t have their own specific food group.
As kids have different dietary needs than adults, we need to maximise their nutritional intake with kid-friendly superfoods, best served right in the morning to fuel them through the day. Here are our top picks to turn your kids into superfood super heroes!
1. Super Berries
When it comes to some of the healthiest food on this planet, berries are right there at the top. The healthiest berries are packed with antioxidants that are essential for boosting your immunity and good vision, among many other benefits. The blue and black berries definitely top the charts when it comes to superfoods and along with their red and pink sisters, they all make great smoothies. Buying berries in Bangkok can be tricky with a hefty price tag so look for the frozen options. Berries don’t loose their super powers when they are frozen and store easily, ready to use at the drop of a kids superman cape!
- Acai Berries
- Aronia Berries
- Black (and Red) Raspberries
- Black Elderberries
- Lingonberries (Cowberries)
- Maqui Berries
- Goji berries
2. Super Fruits
Everyone knows fruits are good for you, “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away!” But some fruits pack more punches than others. Our A-list is below with links attached to check out their individual health benefits. Thankfully avocado is on this list and is a firm superfood favourite in my house in the form of guacamole, smashed on toast or sliced in a salad. This green fruit (yes it’s a fruit) is loaded with a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial to everything from your eyes, your heart and your skin – hence my dinner is sometimes found smashed onto my daughters face!
- Acerola Cherries
- Avocado yes its a fruit!
- Blood Oranges
- Camu-Camu Fruit
- Dragon Fruit
- Mandarin Oranges
- Mangosteen Fruit
- Manzano Bananas
- Passion Fruit
- Pomegranate Fruit
- Prunes (Dried Plums)
- Purple Grapes
- Queen Garnet Plum
- Rambutan Fruit
Oatmeal is a great whole grain to serve to children. It has lots of fibre, B vitamins and beta-glucans, which help lower blood cholesterol. Thick, gooey oatmeal isn’t very visually appealing but you can serve it with yogurt, milk and fruits, or in a granola mix. Uncooked oats can also be blended into a smoothie or baked into breads and muffins. I always find a nice dollop of fresh yoghurt with some mixed berries helps this to look and taste more appealing for kids.
4. Seeds, Nuts & Pulses
Seeds and nuts may be high on the caloric in-take charts, something most kids shouldn’t even be thinking about, but they are one of the most concentrated natural sources of minerals and vitamins. Especially the heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. We have found kids particularly like flax seeds sprinkled or rather hidden in oatmeal or mixed into smoothies:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds, add to your smoothies!
- Flax seeds, grind up and hide in your pancakes!
- chick peas
- Baked beans
- Edamame beans…. any kind of pea or bean does this trick!
5. Jasberry Rice (a Thai favourite!)
A new variety of organic rice with almost three times more antioxidants than blueberry and ten times more antioxidants than green tea, Jasberry rice offers many health benefits, including a boost to the immune system. And unlike other types of black rice, which can be tough to chew, Jasberry is soft and a hit with kids! It’s great as a hearty Asian-style breakfast, served as a porridge or with savoury stir-fried dishes.
6. Nut Butters
Almond, cashew and blended nut butters provide protein, iron and zinc. They also contain healthy fat, and are a good alternative to meat. Check labels to avoid nut butters loaded with sugar. Around two tablespoons (or one serving) will do, given their high caloric content. Serve with slices of apple, on toast or in a sandwich.
7. Coconut Oil
Non-processed, raw virgin coconut oil contains the highest amount of lauric acid of any food. It boasts anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial fatty acids that keep immune systems strong, among other benefits. Use it to cook your morning eggs or pancakes instead of other vegetable oils. Also, as coconut oil is highly resistant to oxidation at high heats, it’s perfect for high-heat cooking methods like frying.
The deep green spirulina, a type of algae, is not the easiest superfood for kids as it has a strong, salty taste. However, add a little bit of powdered spirulina to a smoothie, along with bananas and milk (cow, coconut, almond or soy), for an easy, nutritious breakfast. You can also mix it in a soup or bake it in a loaf of bread. Spirulina noodles or pasta are also available. It’s worth a try to reap the benefits, which include free-radical fighting antioxidants and iron. There are also a host of pre-blended juices featuring Spirulina available in the Bangkok supermarkets cold pressed sections.
9. Dark Chocolate
We knew it! Dark chocolate, which is made from raw cacao, has been found for centuries to have many health benefits as it contains high amounts of magnesium, lipids and antioxidants that combat both depression and increase your cardiovascular health. That doesn’t mean we are giving you a license to eat a whole block, but a few squares of dark chocolate a day, far outweighs in the health stakes a packet of chips or a sugary donut. Try mixing cacao nibs into your smoothies or adding them to your pancake mix and muffins. The darker the better if you can manage the bitter taste. Fortunately for us, there are some pretty amazing places to find really good quality dark chocolate in Bangkok!
10. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon really is the one of the best sources of protein for building strong bones and packing in those omega-3 fatty acids which are so important for overall bone health. It’s also a great source of vitamin D, which kids need for proper calcium absorption to improve and maintain bone strength, serve a salmon salad in the sun and they get a double boost! A serving of salmon, eggs and smashed avocado for breakfast serves such a superfood punch it can keep kids going right through until lunchtime without the need for sugary snacks in between. Top tip: evidence suggests that sustainable wild salmon harbors more vitamin D than its farmed counterpart so always look for the wild options.
Need to shop for your superfoods, Passion Delivery have a wide range of all of these products and right now are offering THB 350 OFF on lots of these superfoods so head over to their website to check out their selection of berries, wild salmon and all the super foods you need to create super kids!
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