15 Must Have Nutrient Dense Foods in your Child’s Diet

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Milk, hummus, avocado, salmon, flaxseeds, tofu, mangoes, sweet potato, legumes, tomatoes, greek yogurt, cabbage, cocoa, black beans and nuts are some of the must have nutrient dense foods in your child’s diet.

Right nutrition is important for your kid’s proper growth and development. Nutrients are mainly divided into two main sub categories – Macronutrients and Micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats and are needed in larger quantities by the body. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are required in smaller quantities by the body. Milk, green vegetables, nuts, fruits, non vegetarian foods etc are packed with micronutrients that are needed for your child’s overall development.

What are nutrient dense foods?

Nutrient dense foods  are high in nutrients but comparatively low in calories. They contain almost all kind of vital minerals, vitamins, lean proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats etc which are needed by your child for their proper growth and development of body. Not every food item contains all the essential nutrients. These essential nutrients can be easily taken through raw and unprocessed food items. Mentioned below are things which can boost up your child’s immunity and improve their health with no extra efforts.

Top 15 Super Nutrition Foods for your Child

Milk

Milk is known as a rich source of calcium as it provides your child with healthy amount of calcium which is needed for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D in milk will help your child’s bones to absorb the calcium in the body. Especially, cow’s milk provides a complete nutritional food for kids as it is low-fat milk and is packed with nutrients. As most children dislike drinking plain milk, you can provide them milk in the form of chocolate milkshakes. You can add flavours like strawberry, blueberry and other such energy drinks.

Hummus

This dip and spread is made from beans which contain fibre and is good for heart as it has complex carbohydrates and proteins in it. Garbanzo beans with olive oil make hummus a perfect food for children. Hummus can be used as a dip with baked chips or as sandwich sauce, burger spreads, or wraps.

Nutrient dense food for child

Avocado

25 to 35% daily calories in children should be provided by fats, mostly the unsaturated ones. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats. This creamy green soft fruit can be served best as a spread on wraps, sandwiches and can also be eaten raw. A ripe avocado can be mashed easily and mixed with other fruits or can be prepared into a dip. Avocados can be given to children at an early age.

Salmon

This pink mid size fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain development and functioning of a healthy heart. Besides this, it has high-quality protein which helps in proper growth.one of the plus points is that it requires just little flavouring due to its natural flavour and also cooks easily in less time. It can be served to children in burgers or as little roasted salmon with mild spices.

Flaxseeds

These seeds are slightly brown or golden yellow in appearance. They serve as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which is helpful for right brain development. These seeds are sold whole and ground. Ground flaxseed are a better option as it is easy for the body to absorb the maximum nutrients out of it. They can also be served with cereals.

Tofu

Tofu is a great source of protein for vegetarians, besides cottage cheese. It is a rich source of vitamin B, calcium and iron which are all the nutrients required by children for their proper growth and bone development. Tofu can be used to provide a creamy base for fruit smoothies, desserts and ice creams.

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Mangoes

This sweet tropical juicy fruit is a great source of vitamin c. It helps in building your kids immune system and keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean. They provides around 4 grams of sugar for just about 100 or 110 calories. Mangoes can be used to make a smoothie or dessert like a banana-mango smoothie or mango pudding, ice-cream etc.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are white fleshy root vegetable and an excellent source of beta-carotene and iron. They are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are good for children. To get the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes, it is important to steam or boil them till they get soft. You can also cook them as a dessert.

Legumes

Legumes such as boiled beans, black beans, green beans, peas, and chick peas are the best source of protein for your children. Cereal also helps in digestion and is full of fiber.

Blueberries

Blueberries are among the healthiest fruits as they are packed with antioxidants and help in improving brain functions. They are a healthy and tasty choice for breakfast and can be made into squash or added to milk and are also great in summer salads and other desserts.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a substance that helps against many cancers. Cooking tomatoes makes them healthier because the heat releases the lycopene in it. Make them into pizza and pasta sauces, soups, or add tomato sauce to cocked vegetables.

Greek yogurt

Greek Yogurt contains healthy bacteria which is known to boost immunity and also helps in digestion. It has two to three times the amount of protein and less sugar compared to regular yogurt. You can add a drizzle of flavours and honey.

Cabbage 

Cabbage has a mild spicy flavor and is crunchy, which kids tend to like better than the usual vegetables. All the cruciferous type of veggies such as cabbage, broccoli and kale are rich in phytonutrients which are known to lower the risk for many types of cancer and also improve digestion. It also helps to eliminate harmful toxins from the body by forcing the release of enzymes which flush toxins out. Use them in sandwiches or salads.

Cocoa

Cocoa powder has one of the highest amounts of flavonoids which are a compound known to improve blood pressure and oral health. Flavinoids also protect skin from sun damage and uv rays. Use at least 70 to 80% pure cocoa as its best if not processed with alkali, which removes most of the flavonoids from cocoa. You can sprinkle it on pancakes or french toast and there are many ways to have them in your child’s diet.

Black beans

Beans are a great source of protein, fiber and calcium. The darker the color, the more healthy they are. They help in protection against heart diseases and raised cholesterol. Even kids can develop these problems. You can make them into nachos and give them with cheese and salsa. You can also add them into burger or make hummus.

Nuts

Nuts are packed with healthy fats, which kids require for growth and development and also for good heart health. Give them in the morning to boost their metabolism and keep them energised all day long.

Regularly including these nutrient dense foods in your child’s diet is certainly going to give them a good health which is just not physical but also metal health.

For more information on healthy eating habits for kids refer to

Https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/nutrition-for-kids/art-20049335

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