You Will Find Those Superfoods In Your Pantry And Fridge, Use Them More Often 🌿
I am someone who believes in the power of nutrition and that a well organized, versified and healthy diet is the best medicine and immunity booster for our body. And YES, we do have plain pasta for dinner sometimes and that’s more than ok, actually it's so yummy and mood lifting! The main meal of the day is our lunch, it’s where I use all my creativity and try to fit superfoods as much as I can. Our breakfasts and dinners are much more simple and straight to the point.
It’s good to know that at 6 months of age, babies start losing their Iron reserves, therefore; and in order to avoid any iron deficiency, we need to start introducing it in their food. While some pediatricians prescribe an iron supplement, I chose to ensure that my kids (and myself) are getting all the iron necessary among all other nutrients in our meals instead of supplements.
That doesn’t mean I spend my time in the kitchen! Believe it or not, I hate the kitchen!
I’m into easy, convenient and fast meals for a working mom on the go like me BUT packed with nutrients and of course and most importantly packed with YUMMINESS! I don’t do weird dishes yet I make sure my meals are versified and again YUMMY because healthy and nutritional shouldn’t be YUCKY! The main reason why I’m writing this blog post is to simplify your life and show you that the main superfoods are actually in our fridge and pantry, we just need to be more attentive to them and introduce them more often in our meals to add more nutrients and boost your kids immunity. But don’t over stress yourself, it’s really simple. Here’s a list of my superfoods, How I use them, tips about them, and how and where to hide them for your picky naughty eaters in case they didn’t like them.
It’s really easy to find garlic in most of our home cooked meals! It adds yumminess to our food and it's a must-have for our health. Garlic also fights infections. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. So Garlic is LIFE!
2. Spinach (and all dark leafy greens)
Among all green leafy vegetables that are considered as superfoods too, spinach is the best, and thank god, it’s one my kids favorite meals. It is rich in vitamin C but also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Try to make spinach stew with minced meat your kids favorite meal, and introduce it in your menu every week, because why not? (PS: If you want the best spinach stew recipe, go to @Mrsclueless account on instagram, she has it in her highlights)
TIPS: 1) You can take any brownies recipe and add one cup of pureed spinach to it before baking it, they won’t taste it trust me 🤫 2) Storing spinach is very easy, get it fresh wash it, dry it and simply freeze it in bags. 3) Spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances it’s vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Peas are another green food rich in antioxidants. And usually, kids love them. We’re really lucky that our cuisine (Lebanese) has a huge variety of dishes and most of them are loaded with super foods. Mrs clueless peas with minced meat and vermicelli rice recipe is my favorite, its on her highlights on her instagram account (Mrs clueless is actually my favorite)
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table! Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants, fiber and minerals! The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. If your kids (unlike Toufic) like broccoli then you’re lucky and I’m jealous! If not, read the tips below. Toufic hates it. But I found some ways for him to eat it it along many other vegetables that he also hates like carrots! (Yes he hates carrots).
TIPS: 1) Broccolis are easy to store, wash them, and freeze them then use them in soups (hidden: either puree or cut super small) like lentil soup (I hide alot of vegetables in my lentil soup), Vegetable soup, and for your vegetable stock too.
We usually turn to ginger after getting sick because it helps decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. We mostly consume it as lemon ginger tea which is perfect, but we rarely use ginger in our dishes, but we really have to. Ginger goes so well with chicken. Introduce some asian and international meals to your meals that have ginger , (yes let’s get a bit creative in the kitchen in 2019, buy recipe books, follow food accounts on instagram) Try my super chicken curry recipe for instance (it also has another superfood 👇🏻)
6. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. I rarely used red bell pepper in my kitchen but after reading about it, I am trying to introduce it more often in my meals. If your kids are willing to eat it raw: You’re lucky and i’m jealous!! If not, hide it in their tomato sauce and soups. Don’t forget to try my super chicken curry recipe. You’re gonna love it.
Yogurt has probiotics and a lot of calcium. We’re talking about plain yogurt not flavored. Goat yogurt is even better. Yogurt is also easy to find in our kitchen because many of our meals have a side of yogurt like kebbe in the oven and lentil with rice AKA Moudardra (with cucumber and garlic, my favorite) or cooked with chich Barak and kebbe bi laban.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D which helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
This bright yellow, bitter spice is a perfect anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is not very common in our meals but we can try to incorporate it more often with the below tips. I would have told you you need to have turmeric latte that is everywhere but no don’t! It’s disgusting!! 😱
Tip: 1) When you use turmeric, always add black pepper to enhance curcumin absorption by up to 2,000% Read more about this here 2) Add it to soups, tomato sauces and dark sauces but be careful, it has a strong taste. 2) Turmeric goes well with rice, gives it a yellow color and extra yumminess!
When you’re sick, chicken soup is the best. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey (we only eat turkey on Christmas though 😶), is high in vitamin B-6. About 85 grams of chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6, an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity. Try my yummy cold fighting chicken soup.
10. Lean meat
Nope, we’re not vegetarians. Toufic actually LOVES everything related to MEAT! But, I do make sure, at least two or three of my weekly meals are vegetarians (beans, lentils…) The usefulness of zinc is known to all and sundry. It helps in the better functioning of the immune system. It accelerates the production of White Blood Cells (an important cell of the immune system). Lean meat contain zinc in abundance. Sorry vegans, but you know it’s true.
Fish is a must for improving the immune system. It is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for proper functioning of the brain. Recent studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can also stimulate the activity of the immune cells. we have fish once or twice every two weeks.
You can never go wrong with eggs. Tasty and nutritious, an egg a day is a must for your kid's immunity. The egg yolk, in particular, is a rich source of many important vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, vitamin B1, B3, B6, B9, B12,), minerals and antioxidants. The vitamins and minerals are great immune boosters and will provide better protection. We have at least 3 times eggs as a breakfast per week, and we LOVE IT.
13. Citrus fruits
Because your body doesn't produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it's easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
A cup of orange juice with breakfast or when they’re back from school will be perfect. Most of our home cooked meals have squeezed lemon in them BUT…👇🏻
Tips: 1) When your meal needs lemon, are sure you add the squeezed lemon after the cooking process, when heated on high temperature, lemon juice loses some of it’s nutritional value. 2) Soup for lunch or dinner? Add a squeeze of lemon before serving.
I’ll be very honest with you, we all hate it in the family. But I can’t be selfish, so if you like it, you need to know that Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. I think I need to look for a good recipe to use papaya. Will share it with you when I find one. Something with chicken most probably.
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
Tip: Eat it with the skin on, it feels weird the first time you do, but it doesn’t change the taste.
The health benefits of berries are immense. Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, your kid can never have enough. Smoothies, juices, fruit salads or raw, children love to have them all. The berries are rich in antioxidants. Needless to say, they help to strengthen the immune system.
Tip: Unfortunately, Toufic wouldn’t even accept to taste fruits, the only way he would have them are either in a smoothie or as a frozen ice cream (with a bit of honey)
17. Honey (FOR KIDS OLDER THAN 12 MONTHS)
Honey, with its antimicrobial properties, is very beneficial. Use it as a sweetener for your kids instead of sugar.
18. Almonds and Nuts (RAW)
Make nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins) your kid’s best friend. Rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, nuts are immunity boosters. Almonds, in particular, are effective in stimulating the activity of Natural Killer Cells. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole or shelled almonds, provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are also superfoods, they are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, with 82 percent of the daily recommended amount in just a quarter-cup serving.
I wrote this blog post specifically to show you that you shouldn’t panic whether your kids are getting enough nutrients and eating healthy, all the nutrients and super foods are actually in your fridge and pantry, you just need to be aware of them and try to include the above more in your meals and your family will be just fine! I’m sure I forgot many other superfoods and remember that some days we have this super foods dish and other days we have plain pasta and that’s more than ok.