Superfoods for Kids – A Blog by Nutritionist Susie Burrell
February 4, 2021
In a country blessed with the availability of amazing fresh food, our kids are pretty lucky. In saying that, surprisingly Aussie kids are not an overly healthy bunch. Very few Aussie kids get anywhere near their recommended daily serves of vegetables, and up to 30% of their daily energy intake comes from discretionary or ‘junk’ food such as potato chips, chocolates, cakes, biscuits and snack foods.
What we also know is that there are a number of important nutrients, including Omega-3 fat, iron, zinc, Vitamin E, probiotics and dietary fibre that kids are less likely to get as part of their day to day diet when they do not eat enough of the right foods.
So if you are keen to supercharge your family’s nutrition in 2021, here are some of the key superfoods to include in the weekly menu more often to boost their nutritional intake.
Some kids love it, but it is more common to hear that children are not the biggest fans of fresh fish in particular.
While it is relatively easy to get nutrients including protein from a range of other foods, it is the Omega-3 fats that are most significantly impacted when fish is not featured on the menu regularly. Important for cognitive function, immune function and for its natural anti-inflammatory effects, ideally all Aussies need to include fish in their diets 2-3 times each week.
For kids who are adamant about not eating fish, foods with these special fats added such as Mayver’s Omega-3 Super Peanut Butter can be a way to get some of these important fats into the diet regularly.
With only 2% of Australians getting the recommended daily serve of nuts, and with nuts banned in most schools, many of our kids are not used to eating nuts regularly. The downside of this is that nuts are exceptionally nutrient rich, offering essential fats, Vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and dietary fibre.
100% nut spreads are a very convenient way to help kids get a daily serve of nuts, with a spread of 100% Mayver’s Peanut Butter on toast, crackers or added to a smoothie slipping easily into kid’s daily diets. Or even better, opt for the new Mayver’s Probiotic Super Peanut Butter for an extra dose of probiotics to support gut health.
It is notoriously difficult to get children to eat veges, and leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli not often at the top of children’s favourite foods. Nutritionally though, it is the group of leafy green veges that are jammed packed with key vitamins and minerals that are closely associated with good health long term. Aiming to add at least one green food into your child’s daily diet is a great goal, and remember that these foods can slip into green breakfast smoothies exceptionally easily if cooked veges do not go down too well at your house.
Not only are they naturally sweet, but universally loved and as an added bonus bananas are packed full of nutrients including dietary fibre, Vitamins B, potassium, magnesium and slowly digested, low GI carbs for energy. Use them to sweeten baked goods, freeze as a lower sugar alternative to ice-cream, carry as a convenient snack on the run or even bake into tasty bite sized chips.
While our kids often reject fish, many of them develop a love of sushi early in life. This is a good thing nutritionally as it means that more kids are regularly eating seaweed which is a rich source of iodine, a nutrient may Aussies do not get enough of, and it can also be a way to slip some fish into their diet of they like it. Just avoid white rice varieties in favour of brown where possible.
Blog by the amazing @susie_burrell_dietitian