8 Superfoods to Pack in Your Child’s Lunch
As a parent, you know it can be an adventure packing a tasty, healthy lunch for your kids. They’d probably love some fresh twists on your old standbys. But who has time for that? That’s where superfoods come in.
What’s a superfood?
Any food that’s packed with nutrients is a superfood. That means even a few little bites can have big health benefits for children’s bodies and brains.
Check out what makes these 8 superfoods super for your kids — and find new ways to serve them in a flash.
- What makes them super? Berries have high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, which can help keep kids from getting sick.
- Serving ideas: Mix berries into a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, toss into a salad, or serve a handful as a snack. You can also blend with veggies and seeds for a tasty smoothie.
- What makes them super? Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help keep children feeling full longer. The yolks contain iron — good for brain function — and lecithin, a substance that contributes to memory and concentration.
- Serving ideas: Pack a hard-boiled egg for a midday snack, or scramble with your child’s favorite veggies for breakfast.
- Whole grains
- What makes them super? Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, and oats are rich in B vitamins and fiber. These provide children with a steady source of energy to perform their best throughout the day.
- Serving ideas: Use whole-grain bread for a healthier grilled cheese sandwich. For breakfast, this no-cook overnight oatmeal is easy to prepare the night before a busy morning.
- What makes them super? Black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and soybeans are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. Iron plays a vital role in the development of the brain and protects your child’s immune system, lowering their risk of illness.
- Serving ideas: Mix beans into a burger patty, blend them into a hummus or other dip, or toss them into a salad.
- What makes them super? Avocados are rich in vitamins and potassium. They also have heart-healthy fats that provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Serving ideas: Add a slice or two to a sandwich or salad, or make a guacamole dip. For dessert, try a scrumptious avocado chocolate pudding.
- What makes them super? Walnuts, almonds, and pecans are a great source of healthy fat, essential for brain growth and development. They’re also packed with antioxidants.
- Serving ideas: Sprinkle some nuts on oatmeal or salads, or spread almond butter into a sandwich for breakfast.
- Note: Be sure to check your child’s school’s policy on nuts. Many schools are nut-free.
- Nonfat Greek yogurt
- What makes it super? Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, vitamin D, calcium, and probiotics. Children need vitamin D for the absorption of calcium in order to build strong bones. Probiotics, the “healthy bacteria,” may help with digestion and immunity.
- Serving ideas: Use nonfat Greek yogurt in smoothies, parfaits, or anywhere you would use sour cream, such as in tacos or dips. You can also pack it as a snack with berries, nuts, and seeds.
- What makes them super? Veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants and are very low in calories, which can be helpful in the prevention of obesity and diabetes. Variety is key. Children love colorful foods, so make sure you serve a rainbow of foods.
- Serving ideas: Roast and grill veggies for sandwiches, salads, or burritos. Make smoothies with veggies and fruit that everyone will love. Serve veggies with nonfat and low-fat dips or add vegetables to all-time kid-favorite recipes like spaghetti.