Top 5 Best Foods for Children's Development

Top 5 Best Foods for Children's Development

Getting the right foods into your growing toddler is a difficult task. With a sea of information available to you and picky tastebuds that won't make dinnertime easy, it's important to pick the right things and make them count!

Well, we're here to make your life just a little bit easier. Including these 5 staples in your little one's diet will ensure they grow big and strong, physically, mentally and emotionally!

Sneak them into a dinner casserole, soup, or mask the taste of bitter greens in a delicious NutriBlast - your child will eat them right up and never know the difference. Plus, you'll feel good knowing you're feeding your little one right.

  1. Romaine Lettuce – As your child’s digestive system matures and grows more tolerant of raw foods, you can gradually incorporate mild-tasting lettuces into his or her diet. Once (s)he develops a taste for these starter greens, try to introducing stronger-flavored varieties like spinach, baby kale and Swiss chard into NutriBlasts and other meals. These dark, leafy greens contain the carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to boost eye health. Such nutrients are helpful as your child develops hand-eye coordination. Other sources include cooked greens, green peas, broccoli, green beans, eggs and oranges.
  2. White Beans - The fiber in beans is well regarded for its cholesterol-reducing properties. It may seem premature to worry about cholesterol in children, but plaque buildup in the arteries is appearing more frequently in kids as young as 13! Instilling heart-healthy eating habits at this age may help prevent future cardiovascular conditions. Other heart-healthy foods include berries, nuts and seeds. White beans are also a great source of plant-based calcium, as well as folate, iron, thiamine (B1) and magnesium.
  3. Broccoli – Cruciferous veggies like broccoli are known for their antioxidant properties, which help to protect the body against a wide array of environmental toxins. Broccoli also contains vitamin C to help ward off the sneezes and sniffles, vitamin K for normal blood clotting, B vitamins and fiber. Raw broccoli can be somewhat bitter, so try adding it to a NutriBlast to mask its intense flavor. Cooked broccoli might be easier for your child to eat on its own; it also makes an excellent addition to soups, veggie burgers and casseroles.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) – Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween; these nutrient-dense seeds add a healthy portion of protein, magnesium, immune-boosting zinc, iron and fiber to any NutriBlast.
  5. Almond Butter – While peanut butter is very popular amongst kids, almond butter may be a better option due to its lower allergen ranking. Almonds are also incredibly nutritious, providing a great source of heart healthy fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. They have also been shown to promote healthy blood sugar levels, which may help ward off rambunctious behavior that accompanies extreme sugar highs and crashes in kiddos.

With varied taste experiences that center on natural, whole foods, your little one will develop into a healthy adult who loves whole foods! Use berries in dessert, vegetables in your daily smoothies, and extra spices and boosts in your broths to really develop your little one's taste buds and their sense of adventure when it comes to trying new flavors.

Bon appétit!

Registered Dietitian

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