Monday, August 30, 2010

Boosting Nutrition for You and Your Family

I chose to begin my son on solid food at 4 months old.  I started with the usual rice cereals and moved on from there.  I also made almost all of the food he ate from fresh fruits, veggies, meats, etc.  It was an easy choice for me because I knew exactly where the food came from and how healthy is was for him.  I am still constantly looking for new ways to keep him eating a variety of healthy foods. 

At the age he is now, 16 months, it is easy to fall into hot dogs or chicken nuggets for lunch everyday.  I admit, Mason has had his days of dogs and nuggets, but thankfully, this is on rare occasion.  So, when I came across this great article, 10 Nutrition Powerhouses for Kids, it only reinforced the importance of continuing to add to a variety of healthy, nutritious foods into his diet. 

But with kids, often comes pickiness. I have been very fortunate that, so far, Mason will eat just about anything and everything that I give him.  However, I do notice that some days he is seemingly pickier and I wait for the day he says to me "Otdog!, Otdog!", which is what I used to call hot dogs at his age.  I always try to be a sneaky Mom when it comes to adding nutritious foods to his diet.  I hope to share these with you.  If it helps your child eat a little healthier, then my job is done.

One of my favorite sneaky tricks I use to boost the nutritional value of tomato sauce is to add pureed sweet potatoes to the sauce.  There is a two-fold reason for this trick - -

     1. Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene -- a substance that protects
         against many cancers.  This is one of  the greatest super foods out there.
         It's a no-brainer to have Mason eat tomato sauce. 

     2. I have found that if my son eats too much sauce, he will start to get
         a rash.

So, by adding the pureed sweet potatoes or (shredded carrots) to the sauce, it will help not only to reduce the acid in the sauce (Bye, Bye rash!), but boost the nutritional value of the sauce (Hooray!).  Sweet potatoes and carrot have just about the same amount of beta-carotene. Sweet Potatoes contain carotenoids, are rich in Vitamin C and potassium. Plus, this starchy veggie is full of fiber, which will help to keep your sweetie full. 

I also like to use the cube method to freeze sauce I have made for Mason.  This way, I have sauce readily available that I can defrost for quick lunches.

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