Parents know how vital veggies are to kids’ health, whether they like them or not. But not all vegetables are created equal. Each vegetable contains unique combination of nutrients and benefits, and some are a powerhouse source of nutrition.
If your child’s a picky eater, have her try a broad variety to find a couple of veggies that she will eat if prepared just the right way.
Butternut squash. This winter squash is loaded with vitamin A, in fact, four times the recommended daily allowance (RDA). It also contains double the RDA of vitamin C and packs more potassium than a banana.
To turn your kids into butternut squash fans, cut it in half and remove all the seeds. Then, fill a glass baking dish about 3/4″ high with water, and place the pieces of squash with the skin facing up. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour. Allow the squash to cool enough to handle it, then scoop all the squash out of the peel, and top it with butter. If that doesn’t entice your kids, try adding a touch of brown sugar.
Kale. This dark green leaf packs a whopping 684% of the RDA of vitamin K, and well over the RDA of both vitamins A and B6.
If your kids like salad, just mix some kale with the lettuce. If they aren’t salad eaters, kale makes a great addition to smoothies.
Sweet potatoes. Vitamins A, B5 and B6, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and carotenoids are the nutritional makeup of sweet potatoes.
The good news is, the holidays aren’t the only time of year you can eat them. Sweet potatoes make yummy french fries, which can be baked rather than fried. Just look for one of oodles of baked sweet potato fry recipes out there.
Bell peppers. Red, orange, yellow, or green, bell peppers are nutritious whatever the color. All are high in vitamin C, with red bell peppers containing 169% of the RDA. Also, bell peppers are high in vitamin A and carry a good dose of other nutrients as well.
Do your kids live by the motto “everything tastes better with Ranch dressing?” If so, give them bell pepper slices for dipping. Bell peppers also go great on pizza or sauteed to top hot sandwiches.
Asparagus. Folic acid is what asparagus is especially noted for because it contains 60% of the RDA. But asparagus also contains a healthy amount of vitamins K and C, as well as several other essential nutrients.
Grilled asparagus is sure to please your kids. Before grilling, brush them lightly with olive oil then add salt and pepper. Place the spears on the grill for 10 minutes, turn them, then give them a few more minutes until they’re lightly blackened.
Spinach. Now here’s an RDA that’s impressive. Spinach contains 987% of the RDA of vitamin K. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper and several other nutrients.
You can add spinach to both smoothies and pizza. Spinach quiche and spinach pie are also dishes many kids love.
Scallions. Also known as spring onions, these pack 172% of the RDA of vitamin K. They’re also known for their antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin A.
Scallions can be grilled just like asparagus. Brush them with oil, add salt and pepper, then toss them on the grill until they’re lightly browned. If that doesn’t work for your kids, try wrapping them in bacon.
Even picky eaters can enjoy new veggies in a new way so give it a try and give them a boost of nutrients.