Superfoods are good for your health, nutritionally-rich and contain antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats and phyto-chemicals.
Most often plant-based, but the superfood label extends to some dairy products and certain types of fish.
Include whole-wheat flour, bread and pasta, as well as oats, mielies, barley, brown rice and popcorn in your trolley to ensure an optimum intake of whole grains.
They contain the cereal germ, endosperm, and bran and, because the whole grain is intact, they contain more nutrients and fibre than refined grains. Regular consumption of whole grains can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
If you like oats for breakfast, try this original Swiss muesli recipe: soak some oats in water overnight, then add chopped fresh fruit, raisins, nuts, desiccated coconut followed by a spoonful of yoghurt. This ensures the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream, which is important for schoolgoing children.
Beans and lentils
Buy the tinned four-bean mix and decant into small containers for a nutritious school snack. Stock up on packets of dried lentils as they are incredibly economical as well as nutritious.
These super foods are a great source of both kinds of fibre – insoluble fibre, which helps to keep children regular, and soluble fibre, which plays a role in keeping blood sugars stable. They are also rich in protein and are a good source of iron.
Lentils and bean salads are quick and easy.
Cook the lentils or beans, grate in a carrot, add some chopped up cucumber and tomatoes. Then add a handful of sunflower seeds, along with chopped hard-boiled egg, a drizzle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.
For optimum nutrition, lentils should be eaten along with wholegrain rice to ensure a complete protein (you can throw them in the same pot together) because lentils contain the amino acid, lysine, but are low in methionine. Wholegrain rice, however, is high in methionine yet low in lysine, so eaten together, the one makes up for the other’s lack, providing a perfect protein-rich meal.
Fishy super foods
Oily fish such as pilchards, sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna are regarded as super foods because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Sms the name of the fish to 079 499 8795 to see if it’s a sustainable seafood.
They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote healthy brain development and growth and concentration in children. Including oily fish in your child’s diet from an early age will ensure they develop a taste for them.
Always add a couple of tins to your shopping trolley as they are perfect for quick and easy dinners. Mash with a fork, add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve on wholewheat toast with cherry tomatoes.
Check the sell-by date as fresh eggs are not only tastier, but also keep their shape and colour better when cooking.
Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamins A and D, and iron.
Perfect for Sunday night dinners. Scramble the eggs with some onions, spinach and tomatoes or serve up French toast topped with melted cheese. For perfect hard-boiled eggs, simply pop the egg into a pot of cold water (this way the egg shell won’t crack), put the pot on the stove to boil and once the water is boiling, remove the egg and leave to cool.
Stock up with carrots, butternut, squash, yellow peppers and yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes. Scrub skins with a veggie brush to get rid of any pesticide residue.
Yellow vegetables are especially good for you because they are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes and a strong immune system.
Cut up carrots and peppers to eat raw with a hummus dip. Thinly slice potatoes, carrots and butternut, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast into chips. Cut open gem squash, remove seeds, add a dab of butter, some grated cheese and a little nutmeg, then cook in the microwave for a few minutes for an instant meal.
Choose plain yoghurt and stir in chopped fruit when serving – this way you steer clear of added sugar, colourants and artificial flavours. For similar reasons, avoid processed cheeses with added colourants.
Dairy contains calcium,which helps to build and maintain strong healthy bones and teeth.