Eating foods with are seasonally available is a great way to get the nutrients and vitamins in the way nature intended. With summer truly underway, here are three of our favourite summer superfoods for little ones.
Who doesn’t like the crunch and sweet flavour of a fresh corn on the cob – it’s one of the few vegetables all three of my children eat without any complaints. Smeared with butter or fresh off the barbecue, sweetcorn is a powerful summer superfood that can help you feel great too.
Sweetcorn contains two strong antioxidants – zeaxanthin and lutein, which promote healthy vision and can protect yes from bright sunlight. All antioxidants help to protect bodies from cancer and heart disease, so the more the merrier where these are concerned! In addition to this, there’s more protein in sweetcorn than in potatoes and lots of fibre, minerals and vitamins.
Cooking with sweetcorn is easy. Just boil your cob for around 5 minutes them let your little one nibble at the kernels. Or if you’re having a barbecue, just bung your cobs on the grill for a few minutes for a deliciously caramelised flavour.
Corn is one of the few grains that is pretty much always served ‘whole’, so if you want an amazing dose of healthy fibre and wholegrain goodness, get some corn in your diet.
Asparagus is an all-to-often overlooked vegetable, that is packed with health benefits for you and your children. Loaded with nutrients, asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as fibre and folate for healthy digestion. It also contains chromium, a mineral which is useful in sugar regulation, avoiding those post meal crashes.
Cooking with asparagus should ideally be done without water, as boiling can leach out many of these amazing benefits. Simply grill, roast or stir fry for the best results. If you’re cooking asparagus for a spoon fed baby, you should:
- Wash fresh asparagus for safety
- Steam for around five minutes or until the spears are tender
- Puree or blend, adding water until you achieve the desired consistency
- Serve alone or mixed with chicken, rice, pasta or salmon
Once your baby is ready for finger foods, or if you’re baby led weaning, you can offer whole steamed or roasted asparagus spears for them to munch on.
Of all the berries and fruits you can choose, blueberries have the highest antioxidant levels and kids love them too. Just a handful of blueberries each day can lower your risk of Type II diabetes later in life, thanks to their low GI, blood sugar balancing abilities. They contain immune boosting vitamin C and blood beneficial vitamin K too.
Blueberries also have the immense benefit of protecting your children (and you) from urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are a common problem, particularly in nappy wearing youngsters.
Getting more blueberries into your diet is easy. Just throw a handful into breakfast cereal or yoghurt or just give your child a bowl as a healthy snack. If you’re feeling adventurous, try these strawberry and blueberry ice treats as a sweet summer treat:
- Mix 2 teaspoons of honey into a 500g pot of vanilla yoghurt
- Blend a cup of strawberries with about a third of the yoghurt and put into ice lolly moulds
- Freeze for around an hour until almost set
- After an hour, divide half of the rest of the yoghurt around the moulds and ad the sticks
- Freeze for another hour
- Blend a cup of blueberries with the rest of the yoghurt and share around the moulds
- Put them back in the freezer and in an hour your strawberry and blueberry icy treats will be ready to go!
Blueberries are delicious, nutritious and certainly a top summer superfood. They are also often available at ‘Pick Your Own’ farms – something my kids love doing.
Get some into your routine today and enjoy these sweet little powerhouses for yourself.