Healthy eating when you’re on a tight schedule can be really tough for families. Between running out the door and making sure your child’s shoes are on the right feet, it can be often seem easiest to simply grab a burger at the drive through nearby. However, once you read through all the health benefits of healthy foods to serve your child, you’ll understand why it’s so important to carve out any spare time you can to make a meal for your little mini-me. Kids are growing so fast and their bodies are in need of proper nutrients to help their bodies grow up to it’s full potential. Don’t worry though, we’ve added some great ways to incorporate these foods into your everyday life easily, and in a delicious way!

1. Spinach & Kale

One of the easiest ways to incorporate some superfood greens into your child’s meal, is with the assistance of pasta! Cook up a creamy (but healthy) Alfredo sauce, then simply sauté the greens with garlic and then mix into the pasta before serving. You can even blend the greens into the sauce with a food processor or blender to eliminate any issues with texture.

Spinach and Kale are extremely similar in nutritional value for children. They both contain vitamin A, fibre and antioxidants just to name a few. Vitamin A improves and protects your little one’s eyes and skin against infection, while fibre can lower cholesterol and blood sugar. As a result, this fibre content can reduce a child’s risk of heart disease and type two diabetes. Antioxidants is a word that is thrown around a lot in the health world, and for good reason! It can assist in preventing a variety of types of cancer for your child throughout their lifetime.

2. Berries

Serving up some berries for a snack is an easy sell when kids love bite-sized bubbles of sweetness! Serve on their own or on top of some delicious vanilla Greek yogurt! Adding them to pancakes and muffins is an easy way to get the nutrients in the stomachs of your kids without them even realizing it.

Berries are made up of mainly of water, but still manage to contain incredible health benefits. By eating berries a few times a week, children receive the famous and (possibly) cancer preventing antioxidants, as well as a reduced risk of blood clots. One amazing benefit of berries is that they can even lower blood pressure. With so many positive benefits in such a sweet and flavorful treat, why wouldn’t you want to serve these up as a snack each day?

3. Eggs

There are a variety of ways to make eggs appealing to children, but recreating the famous Egg McMuffin has to be the winner. Toast a multigrain english muffin, top with an egg, a slice of ham, cheese and tomato to achieve the ultimate breakfast sammy.

Eggs are packed with iron, selenium and Vitamin D. Iron prevents anemia, while selenium boosts your immune system. Vitamin D in the meantime, helps build strong bones so your child can run and jump all day long. These nutrients are so important to a child’s diet and eggs are the perfect way to incorporate those benefits into your morning routine.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt is a really easy snack to serve up anytime you have a hungry child. You can sprinkle some chia seeds on top with cacao nibs and berries, or simply serve on it’s own. Adding it to smoothies or replacing ice cream with frozen yogurt are also easy ways to incorporate it into your child’s diet without much of a fuss.

Yogurt, as you’ve probably heard, is packed with probiotics and (good) bacteria. Probiotics promote healthy gut flora while aiding in digestion, and also offers the added benefit of potentially preventing colon cancer. Yogurt is a wonderful food to serve your kids to ensure that there are enough good bacterias and probiotics in your child’s digestive system.

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5. Salmon

Mmmm, who doesn’t love a good salmon dinner? This meal option is made perfect with a popular kid-approved ingredient to use on your salmon while it cooks – maple syrup. Maple syrup adds the perfect sweet twist to an otherwise savoury dish, which usually wins over the average child. Serve with mixed cooked veggies and a squeeze of lemon for a super healthy supper.

Salmon has a lot of incredible health benefits including Omega-3 fats, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Omega-3 fats are fantastic for your child’s health as they help with cognitive functions. Iron prevents anemia, while calcium actually helps your heart and nerves to function properly. Finally, phosphorus may seem like a random nutrient to include, but it actually is quite important. It helps maintain dental health, contributes to cognitive function and improves digestion. Salmon is truly a superfood.

6. Oatmeal

Skip the expensive cereal for weekday mornings and replace it with a more cost effective alternative – oatmeal. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice, apples and raisins for the perfect fall breakfast (and don’t forget a drizzle of maple syrup!).

With your child kicking off the day with oatmeal, you can be confident that (thanks to fibre!) their body will be growing a stronger immune system and have a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal is also extremely filling so it will help your little one stay full until snack time or lunch.

7. Whole Wheat Bread

Pick up some lean turkey slices at the deli, add havarti cheese, tomato, lettuce and mustard and you have yourself the perfect lunch time sandwich! The kids will be huge fans and will be getting piles of nutrients all in one sitting.

Whole wheat bread is rich in fibre and zinc. Fibre helps with not only your digestion, but also with nutrient absorption so your child can make the most of the healthy food you feed them. Zinc is often underrated, but it helps build up your child’s immune system so they have a lower chance of catching that nasty flu getting passed around at school.

8.  Brown Rice

I was never a fan of rice until I made butter chicken…and then, I became rice’s number one fan! Swap white rice for brown, and serve up it up with flavorful dishes such as butter chicken, tikka masala or a medley of roasted veggies with garlic sauce.

Did you know that brown rice reduces your child’s chances of getting diabetes, while white rice increases it? I think that’s reason enough to switch to brown rice, but if you need more motivation, it is also exploding with antioxidants, assisting in cancer prevention. It also is rich in fibre and has a slow release of sugar so your child has good digestion and lasting energy. If you have a family member who is already diabetic, brown rice is a great option, simply because of that slow release of sugar.

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9. Whole Grain Waffles

Needing a Saturday morning breakfast that isn’t filled with refined carbs and sugar? Whole wheat waffles are a great option and can be topped with nutrient loaded berries with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Whole grain waffles offer many of the same benefits as whole wheat bread including fibre for digestion and zinc for building up your little one’s immune systems.

10. Beans

Beans, beans they’re magical fruit…the more you eat the more you BENEFIT! Serve them in soups, in the form of hummus or in a rice box or buddha bowl sided with with veggies.

Filled to the brim with fibre, these beans encourage the proper growth and development of your children while balancing blood sugar levels. In addition to all this, they actually have antioxidants as well to assist in preventing many forms of cancer.

11. Walnuts

Walnuts are a great snack all on their own, but you know what is even better? Baking them! You can add them to banana bread, cookies and squares, so even when your kids are eating dessert, they are still getting some important nutrients.

Walnuts actually contain the same family of fats as avocados. As such, they help reduce inflammation which leads to a lot of diseases and illnesses, and assist in maintaining a healthy heart. Vitamins B1 and B6 are also contained inside these little walnuts, offering brain tissue development and nerve health.

12. Green Smoothie

The green smoothie is where you take all the knowledge you’ve learned from the previous foods and blend them altogether to make an amazing superfood smoothie! Throw in kale, avocado, yogurt, oatmeal, bananas and berries to make an amazing smoothie that will help your little one come up with amazing ideas at school today.

A smoothie like this will contain fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and so much more that will help with your child’s cognitive function, as well as digestion and energy levels.

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13. Lean Beef

Skip the ground beef burgers and dig into a thick piece of steak. Ground beef is often very high in unhealthy fats, while steaks can be a lot more lean and as a result, are much more beneficial. Serve up with roasted veggies and garlic mashed sweet potato for a delicious, gourmet supper.

Lean beef contains zinc, phosphorus and iron, all of which you want in your child’s diet! Iron prevents anemia, while zinc and phosphorus encourage proper growth and cognitive function. Who knew steak would be so worth the financial investment?

14. Black Bean Burgers

Black bean burgers are a very healthy alternative to the regular beef burger and can be made quite easily. Top with your regular burger toppings and a whole wheat bun. If you want to get crazy, add caramelized onions and goat cheese on top.

We’ve already discussed the benefits of all beans, black beans are certainly no exception. Encouraging physical and cognitive growth, black beans are also an antioxidant food. With nutrients like these, skipping the McDonald’s burger is a really good call.

15. Broccoli

Broccoli. The kids either like it or absolutely hate it. So how do you serve this up in a way they can enjoy? Try a homemade mac and cheese from scratch, then add cooked broccoli on top. It’s like a cheat day meal that’s actually fairly healthy!

Broccoli contains Vitamins A, C and potassium. Vitamin A helps your child’s eyes develop and remain strong so they can see the chalkboard at school. Vitamin C improves your little one’s immune system while potassium helps to make their heart and muscles big and strong!

16. Avocado

How do you like to enjoy your avocado? Personally, I love to make a good homemade guacamole with avocado, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. It’s very easy and super quick to make!

Did you know that avocado can actually help your body to heal quickly, even with external wounds? They are truly an incredible fruit. Vitamin E needs credit for this healing quality in avocados, which also has the potential to help balance hormones (for those teens in your home). Avocados are filled with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which can help prevent infections and other ailments. It’s our favorite “healthy fat”.

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17. Dark Chocolate

Needing a treat for dessert for the little ones? Serve up some melted dark chocolate and have kids use skewers to dip fruit. It’s such an easy dessert that contains many health benefits your kiddies won’t even notice.

Dark chocolate improves cardiovascular health, helps maintain blood vessel health and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

18. Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato fries are an easy way to get your family to eat sweet potato. Slice into fry sized strips, lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Sweet potatoes contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Vitamin A helps your organs function well and stay strong, while Vitamin C builds up that immune system needed for elementary school. Potassium can provide relief from anxiety, stress and kidney disorders. When your kids have some stressful tests coming up, a plate of sweet potato fries will help them along. The fibre of course, improves digestion so there’s less upset stomachs after supper and more happy healthy kids!

19. Tomatoes

Make a delicious spring salad at supper tonight with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber and goat cheese with balsamic dressing for a healthy side dish.

Tomatoes contain calcium and Vitamin K which both contribute to strengthening those growing bones on your little ones, while Vitamin C improves immune systems and is needed for tissue repair and growth.

20. Kiwi Fruit

Needing an idea on how to serve up kiwi? Slice a kiwi in half and serve with a spoon. Kids can scoop the sweet fruit right out of it’s skin which makes for a fast and easy snack.

Did you know kiwi fruit is also known as a Chinese gooseberry? This gooseberry contains folate which can actually lower your child’s chances of depression while also maintaining a healthy heart. Vitamin A is also present, promoting improved neurological functioning.

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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