The six essential foods that your children need to eat
-Nov 21, Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, Health -
If you’ve embraced the green smoothie and adopted a healthy diet for the adults in your home, it’s time to think about any children you’ve got living there too. Because while there’s not a little nose in the world which hasn’t turned itself up in the air when presented with broccoli or carrots or whatever other sneaky veg has found its way onto their plate, there’s a really important reason not to give up.
With rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes at an all time high, eating well in childhood has never been more important. And there are some foods that are SO good for us, and so helpful at protecting our bodies from disease, that somehow they need to be on our kids’ menu list every week. American nutritionist Dr Joel Fuhrman has revealed his six super foods (which he calls his G-BOMBS) and explains that you can literally build a protective health armour around your kids if you start introducing these foods to them as soon as you can.
The Big Six
There’s no rare, inaccessible food on this list. These super six aren’t expensive, and are likely things you already have in your fridge. Granted, they may not usually be on your kids’ menu, but with a few clever recipes your children will be wolfing them down in no time.
G: Green Leafy Vegetables. Bursting with anti-cancer nutrients and a great source of protein, kale, spinach and romaine lettuce must be on the menu – but you might need to hide them in the beginning. Easily blitz them into a smoothie with a banana, a cup of almond milk and some frozen berries, the purple hue will cover up any hint of greenness! Or try this one – which is almost guaranteed to get some greens into unwilling children and their adult counterparts!
B: Beans. All legumes can keep diabetes at bay, cholesterol low and even slash colon cancer risk by half, if eaten twice a week! Black bean brownies are a cunning way to get beans into children without complaints if they’re not partial to the texture. Put two cups of tinned black beans, 2 tablespoons of almond butter, a teaspoon of vanilla in a blender and blend. Add ½ cup of natural cocoa powder, 1 ¼ cups of pitted dates and a tablespoon of ground chia seeds and blend again adding a drop of water if necessary. Pour into a lightly oiled baking tray and cook for 90 minutes in a very low oven (90C).
O: Onions. With their cousins, leeks and garlic, onions are immune-enhancing miracles, which also slash the risk of cancer and diabetes. If your children pick the bits out of a spaghetti Bolognese beat them at their trick by blitzing them in a food processor before you add them to the meat.
M: Mushrooms. Another texture challenge for some children, this humble fungus is jammed with anti-cancer phytochemicals, and just one small mushroom a day can reduce breast cancer risk by 64%. Again, here, the food processor can be your friend. Fry a few mushrooms with a garlic clove in a splash of water until soft, then blitz before adding half a tin of tomatoes for the perfect pasta sauce. On top of a wholewheat base and beneath your kids’ favourite toppings you can guarantee no leftovers.
B: Berries. True superfoods, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are dripping with antioxidants which will protect you from heart disease in later life. They’re also really good for little brains as they can help improve memory and motor coordination. Berry blend ice cream – eating well doesn’t mean saying goodbye to dessert! Add ½ cup of pomegranate
juice, ½ cup soy milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 cup frozen peaches. Mix together in a powerful blender or food processor and eat!
S: Seeds: Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia – all seeds contain lignans (flax has the most) which increase life expectancy if eaten in youth, protecting you from cancer and heart disease. If your kids don’t fancy seeds as a snack, turn them into sweetie balls: mix ground walnuts, ground almonds, flax seeds and chia seeds in a blender with cinnamon, dates and some cashew nut butter. Roll the paste into balls and keep them in the fridge.
Did you enjoy this? How about trying the perfect healthy breakfast with magical healing powers? Here’s how to make your own gingerbread granola and here’s how to banish fatigue and eat your way to vitality.