March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “go further with food”. As a mom and a dietitian I am always looking for ways to make each bite as nutritious as it can be. Perhaps you can relate. If so, here are a few ways that you can take the food you already serving in your home one step further towards optimal nutrition.
- Hemp Hearts. These “sprinkles” as my kids call them take up very little space added to food, yet offer a large amount of nutrition. Hemp hearts contain brain boosting omega 3 fatty acids, and are a source of complete protein, as well as many vitamins and minerals. We love to add both to yogurt, overnight oats, salads, toast, and banana slices.
- Chia seeds. Chia seeds are another source of complete protein and essential fatty acids that can be thrown into your favorite muffin or cookie recipe or overnight oats.
- Spinach/Kale. These leafy greens are nutrient dense with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If your child isn’t a big fan of salad you can easily blend them into your favorite pasta sauce or smoothie to make it do a little further and increase the nutrition offered in each mouthful!
- Sunflower butter. Children’s tummies are small and they can only handle so much food at once. If your child is a small eater you can increase the caloric density of each spoonful by adding any nut or seed butter. Sunflower butter is a low allergen option that is safe to use in most environments. Try stirring it into your child’s oatmeal or send it as a dip for apples at school. In addition to offering a density of callers from protein and fats at also offer a good source of vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals.
- Probiotics. There is more and more research all the time to show us the significance of gut health as part of a strong immune system. Choosing a yogurt that contain probiotics and/or offering your child a probiotic supplement can help support the good bacteria in their guts. This would be a good topic to discuss with your local physical or dietitian to determine the best option for your child.