As parents, we know how vital veggies are to our kids’ health, whether they like vegetables or not. But not all vegetables are created equal. Each vegetable comes with its unique combination of nutrients and benefits – some, in particular, are a powerhouse source of nutrition.
If you have a picky eater, that’s all the more reason to have your child try a broad variety. There’s bound to be a couple of veggies your child will dig if the vegetables are prepared just the right way. If those vegetables happen to be some of these all-stars, it’s all the better.
- 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, first, 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, then scoop all the squash out of the peel and top it with butter. If that doesn’t suffice for your kids, try adding a touch of brown sugar.
This dark green leaf packs a whopping 684 percent of the RDA of vitamin K,
and well over the RDA of both vitamins A and B6.
If your kids like salad, just add a mix of kale to 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, Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of year you can eat them. Sweet potatoes make yummy French fries, which can even be baked rather than fried. Just look for one of oodles of baked sweet potato fry recipes out there.
These contain a long list of nutrients. Of particular note, peas are very
high in vitamins B1, C, and K, manganese, copper, phosphorus and folate.
Fortunately, peas are one vegetable most kids will eat. Add peas to a variety of soups, stews and casseroles. Another tasty option is to add them to macaroni and cheese.
- Bell peppers.
Red, orange, yellow or green, bell peppers are nutritious whatever the
color. All are high in vitamin C, with red bell peppers containing169
percent 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?” If so, give them bell pepper slices for dipping. Bell peppers also go great on pizza and sauted to top hot sandwiches.
- Brussels sprouts.
Vitamins K and C are what Brussels sprouts are particularly noted for. But
this veggie carries numerous other nutrients in decent amounts as well.
Still, what you’re probably wondering is how you’ll ever get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts. In all likelihood, it will be a challenge. But try what one mom, Monica Kass Rogers, did as she revealed in her article, “How I Got My Kid to Eat Brussels Sprouts.” Rogers says to cut them in half, then stir-fry them in sesame oil with other vegetables. Another trick she recommends is to roast them with olive oil and salt.
Folic acid is what asparagus are especially noted for because they contain
60 percent of the RDA. But asparagus also contains a healthy amount of
vitamins K and C, as well as several other essential nutrients.
Grilled asparagus are 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.
Now here’s an RDA that’s impressive. Spinach contains 987 percent 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.
Here’s another vegetable that’s a rich source of vitamin K, packing 245
percent of the RDA. Broccoli also exceeds the RDA for vitamin C and is an
excellent source of chromium, folate and fiber.
Mix broccoli into most any cheesy dish and kids will gobble it up. Broccoli cheese soup, broccoli smothered in cheese and other cheesy pasta dishes with broccoli added are good options.
Although not a powerhouse of any particular vitamin or mineral, avocado
still carries an adequate amount. What’s particularly notable about avocado
is it’s an excellent source of healthy fats, polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated, and can be used to replace unhealthy fats.
Guacamole is an all-time favorite for adults and kids alike. It’s also good mixed with egg salad.
- Pumpkin (canned).
This is an outstanding source of vitamin A, containing two and a half times
the RDA, not to mention a fair amount of a host of other vitamins and
Numerous desserts can be made from pumpkin. So the next time you’re in the mood to bake, make something with a little added nutritional value. Try making pumpkin pie, bread, cookies or cheesecake.
Also known as spring onions, these pack 172 percent of the RDA of vitamin
K. They’re also known for their antioxidants and are a good source of
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.