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Healthy Habits: Introducing Your Kids to Red Foods
Give your child a fighting chance and stop feeding them nonsense. Use these 8 foods to help them live a healthier, stronger life.
In Japan, the color red signifies energy and power and is often used as a color for heroic figures. This is a good description because when you include red fruits and vegetables in your child's meals, they will grow up strong like superheroes.
Red foods are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Red foods also contain compounds called phytochemicals, which have been shown to have positive health benefits. Phytochemicals, you might have heard about, include flavonoids, lycopene, reservatol and capsaicin.
The Importance of Giving Your Child Fruits For A Healthy Future
Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. They are naturally low in calories, fat, sodium and are cholesterol-free. Fruits play an important role in keeping the body healthy and have many benefits, including:
Vitamins and nutrients that may reduce risk for many illnesses including stroke; heart disease and other heart-related illnesses; type 2 diabetes; certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach and colon-rectum cancer, kidney stones, and bone loss.
Fruits Hydrate the Body. Fruits are made up of 90% to 95% water. Water is an important nutrient. It is responsible for transporting nutrients around the body, regulating body temperature, keeping joints moist, and getting rid of waste products in the body.
Fruits Keep the Body Regular. Fruits are rich in fiber, which is essential for the smooth movement of food in the bodyís digestive system. Fruits help maintain easy bowel action and eating fruits every day will prevent constipation.
Fruits Give the Body Energy. All fruits contain carbohydrates, which are the bodyís main source of energy. Carbohydrates in fruits are mainly sugar, which break down easily and make a quick source of energy.
With all of the benefits that fruits and vegetables provide, itís time to start incorporating them into your childís diet. Make a game out of letting your kids choose one "superhero" red food to eat every day and watch them grow into one of their own. Here are some of my favorite red foods to include with each meal.
Strawberries: Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Strawberries are best fresh, and for a special treat add them to yogurt, cereal and smoothies.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, potassium and vitamin C. They taste great fresh off the vine and cooked in sauces, stews and soups. Try them with scrambled eggs.
Red Peppers: A bright red pepper contains potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Red peppers can be served raw as a snack or in salads, cooked in pasta and stir fry dishes or roasted in soups and stews.
Apples: The wonderful shiny red apple contains soluble fiber, pectin and flavonoids. For a healthy afternoon snack, slice an apple and top with peanut butter. Yummy!
Watermelon: You know its summer time when you see watermelons. Watermelons are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene. A big slice of fresh watermelon is sure to put a smile on your little one's face.
Red Beets: Red beets contain iron, niacin and potassium. Start introducing red beets to kids in salads or roasted with olive oil and ground pepper. Pickled red beets are also a good introduction.
Red Grapes: Red grapes contain flavonoids, reservatol and quercitin to help keep your heart healthy and strong. Grapes are a great snack. Freeze them for a hot summertime treat.
Cherries: Cherries are considered a nutritional super food because they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins and, they taste great! Remove the pits to make it easier for little ones to enjoy this delicious treat.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the "So Easy Baby Food" and the new book "So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years." Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.
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