The foods we give our children today not only helps them grow and develop, but can also play a role in preventing diseases in the future. Diets high in antioxidants are known to protect the body from free radical damage that is associated with cancer and other diseases. Introducing antioxidant-rich foods in your child’s daily foods can provide them with benefits now and build the stepping stones to a lifelong, healthy diet for decreasing cancer and chronic disease risk.
Great sources of dietary antioxidants include flaxseed, beans, nuts, soy, whole grains, green tea, spices such as cinnamon, ground cloves and oregano and of course a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
It’s one thing to know what foods to feed your child for cancer prevention, but it can be another challenge to actually get them to eat those antioxidant-packed foods. Remember that it can take an average of 15 times for a child to accept a new food, so try, try and try again. It can be helpful to work with your child’s taste buds and preferred foods for getting them to try (and hopefully like!) these sometimes challenging foods.
Here are some ideas for working a few more antioxidant-rich foods into your child’s day:
- Melt low fat cheese onto cooked vegetables
- Dip raw veggies into hummus, salad dressing or even ketchup
- Spread natural peanut butter on celery and top with raisins
- Dip fruit into natural peanut butter, honey, strawberry cream cheese, yogurt or a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Fill sandwiches with cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce & tomato along with the regular fixings
- Glaze cooked baby carrots in honey while cooking for those with sweeter palates
- Freeze fruits such as grapes, bananas or strawberries for a cool sensation
- Add banana or apple slices into peanut butter sandwiches
- Top waffles, pancakes or cereal with fruits
- Layer berries, crushed vanilla wafers and yogurt for an after dinner sweet
- Try edamame for a crunchy afternoon snack
- Add veggies into stir fries, tomato sauces and soups
- Add shredded carrots or zucchini into favorite bread or muffin mixes
- Blend ground flax seed into baking mixes, hot cereal or yogurt
- Try meatless options of favorite dinners such as vegetarian chili, vegetable lasagna, sweet & sour tofu stir fry and bean burritos
Foods rich in antioxidants can have tremendous health benefits for not only children, but adults as well. For more information on how to learn more about the power of antioxidants and other super foods contact Metrowest Clinical Collaborative at www.metrowcc.com
About Ashley Bade: By age 8, Ashley had sampled nearly every chicken finger, tender or nugget in New England. Her favorite “vegetables” were popcorn and potato chips. Her “green” foods included mint chocolate chip ice cream and green M&M’s. Now, Ashley is a successful dietitian practicing in the metro west, showing that finding a healthy eating balance is possible, even for the pickiest of eaters. Ashley helps clients navigate the confusing world of nutrition by providing the latest evidence-based recommendations. She supports and guides clients as they find a way of eating that feels well to them; allowing her clients to achieve their personal goals, optimize their health and attain maintainable change. Ashley’s passion is helping individuals and families find a personalized, healthy nutrition balance that not only works for them today, but for a lifetime.