Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kids Health!! Secret Herbal Nutrition

This week I've decided to focus on kids health.  Many parents are spending their summer days immersed in activities with their kids.  Going to the pool, park, library, hiking, bike riding, repeat.  This is a great time to make a meaningful connection with your kids, not only through their activities but also through their nutrition.  Herbs are a great way to add nutritive value to common dishes.  Many herbs contain a combination of Vitamins A, C, K, and all those B's vitamins.  Not only that but they also contain important minerals such as Iron and Calcium, along with the important medicinal compounds associated with a particular herb. 

Let's take mint, for example.  Fresh mint contains high amounts of Vitamin A, C, Folate and Niacin.  It is also high in Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, and Potassium.  Add to that the benefits of mint for digestive health and its use as an antibacterial and you have an excellent herb to add to foods and drinks!

Now if your kids are anything like mine, you may have to be…let's say…sneaky…at times in order to get them to consume fresh herbs.  Why my littlest one will eat basil straight off the plant, but balk at the sight of it in a sauce is beyond me!  Instead of forcing the issue, I get creative.

Here's a few of my favorite ways to sneak a little herbal nutrition into common dishes.

-Pureeing basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, or other savory herbs with a little olive oil first, before adding them to sauces to add iron, calcium, and Vitamin A.  The smaller the bits the better!  While your at it puree some white beans and add them to the sauce to add protein.

-Sprinkle cinnamon into pancake batter, on desserts, or fresh fruits to add Calcium, Vitamins A & K,  Potassium, and Magnesium.  Cinnamon is great for the circulatory system as well.

-Make smoothies!  You can sneak pretty much any fresh herb into a smoothie.  Try adding mint, lemon balm, citrusy herbs, even chamomile for nutrient rich and tasty concoctions.  Add yogurt for pro-biotic benefits, cold herbal tea or 100% juices,  fresh fruits, and a little ice for a refreshing and nutrient packed snack.  The possibilities are endless!

Here's  one of my favorite smoothies for the kids:

-2cups yogurt
-1 cup frozen strawberries
-1 cup frozen blueberries
-1 banana
-1/2 cup cooled infusion of peppermint, lemon balm, and chamomile
-splash of apple juice

*Blend ingredients well until you have the desired texture.  Top with a fresh mint leaf and you have a little bit of heaven.

Happy Hiding!

Kristin Henningsen, M.S., C.H., R.Y.T.


acekard 2i said...

Herbal nutrition is very helpful for the kid's healthy life. This recipes are very best for the kids for better health.

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