Vegetables and Fruits
In her book Superfoods for Babies and Children (Atria Books), bestselling author Annabel Karmel details which are the best foods for your 1- to 2-year-old, and why.
Best Fruits and Veggies for Kids
Citrus and berry fruits are a good source of vitamin C, which helps the absorption of iron from other foods, so try to give some vitamin C-rich fruits at every meal.
Raspberries contain ellagic acid, which can help protect us against cancer. Of all the fruits, raspberries pack the most fiber into the fewest calories.
Lychees are a good way to get some sweetness in the diet. They are also a good source of fiber and vitamins.
Blackberries contain more vitamin E than any other fruit, which is vital for the protection of the heart and arteries.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant pigment that helps to prevent cancer and heart disease. However, research shows that lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if the tomatoes have been cooked with a little oil.
Carrots do improve night vision. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is converted in the body into vitamin A. One of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness.
Brightly colored vegetables contain a wide variety of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that will give us a greater chance of preventing diseases such as coronary heart disease and cancer. Canned tomatoes retain most of their nutrients but do also contain salt.
Herbs have many medicinal properties. Parsley contains vitamin C and iron, and chewing on parsley is a good breath freshener, especially after eating garlic. Chewing thyme is thought to help soothe sore throats, and oregano as an infusion is thought to aid digestion and relieve cold symptoms.
Meat, Dairy, and Starch
Chicken contains much less fat than other meats, as most of the fat lies in the skin, which can be removed. However, chicken with the skin on is higher in fat than beef and other red meats.
Red meat is best included in your child's diet two or three times a week, as it is the best source of readily absorbed iron. Iron requirements rise when the body is growing fast; so it is especially important to make sure your child gets enough iron between 6 months and 2 years.
White fish such as haddock and cod are an excellent source of low-fat protein and contain selenium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating fish helps fight free radicals and also boosts the immune system.
Salmon provides a good source of essential fats that support brain function and the immune system. Indeed, it is thought that the essential fatty acids in oily fish may help children who suffer from dyslexia or dyspraxia. An oily fish such as salmon should be included in all of our diets at least once a week.
Dairy and Starch
Cheese is high in saturated fat, which is not good for adults but is a great energy food for children. Cheese is also a good source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is essential for converting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy. Cheese is a good source of Vitamin B12 for people who don't eat meat.
Pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide us with sustained energy. This is why it is so popular with athletes. Try mixing some whole-grain pasta with regular pasta to increase the fiber content of the meal.
Brown rice provides a good source of energy, some protein, B vitamins, and minerals. It is much more nutritious to eat brown rice, as white rice has lost most of its important minerals and vitamins during processing. The starch in rice, particularly brown rice, is absorbed slowly, thereby providing a steady release of glucose for sustained energy.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C and a particularly rich source of phytochemicals, which can help protect against disease.
Yogurt provides a good source of calcium, protein, and phosphorus, which are all important for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Yogurt is more easily digested than milk.
Recipe: Cheese and Zucchini Sausages
Delicious vegetarian sausages are quick and easy to prepare. If you have time, you can form the mixture into sausage shapes and then set aside in the fridge to firm up before frying.
3 slices white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups grated zucchini
Make bread crumbs by tearing the bread into pieces and blitzing it in a food processor. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the grated zucchini and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Mix with the grated cheese, half the bread crumbs, the egg yolk, and seasoning. Shape into 8 sausages about 4 inches long, using floured hands. Dip into the lightly beaten egg white and then roll in the remaining bread crumbs. Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan and cook the sausages over medium heat, turning carefully as necessary, until lightly golden.
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
One 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, October 2006.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.