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Ten Ways to get Kids (and Adults) to eat Their Veggies

Ten Ways to get Kids (and Adults) to eat Their Veggies

Let’s face it. Vegetables are not the first food group that children look forward to at dinner. When has your kid asked for seconds of spinach? Desserts have their own menu for a reason. Despite their lack of popularity, vegetables are a necessary part of a kids’ diets. They provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy physical and cognitive growth and lower obesity rates.

The Center for Disease Control states that child obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years in the United States and that the percentage of children age six to eleven years who are obese increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly eighteen percent in 2012. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics noted that in a population-based sample of five- to seventeen-year-olds, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Now that the depressing stuff is out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff, shall we? If you really want your kids to eat those veggies, you must do what all good parents do: lie to your kids. Here are some tasty recipes designed to trick your kids (and some adults) into eating their vegetables.

Note that I do not represent any of the websites or advertisers for the recipes pages below. Nor am I a certified nutritionist. I’m someone who thinks nutrition is important and thinks it’s a good idea for kids (and grown-ups) to eat their veggies.

Red Beet Pancakes

    Beet Pancakes

    Beets are very good for you. They are high in vitamin C and fiber and are chock-full of essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. One of my friends introduced these to her daughter (and husband) as “Pink Princess Pancakes”. Verdict? Pink Princess Pancakes were a hit. Beets are not normally at the top of the yummy chart for most kids (or adults), but these make a great breakfast option.

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    Beet ice cream

      Beet Ice Cream

      Yes, beet ice cream. You wouldn’t think that the combination works, but it does. This recipe calls for cayenne pepper if you want a little kick, but it can always be omitted. Play around with it. Adding a few dark chocolate chips doesn’t hurt either!

      Zucchini Pancakes

        Zucchini Pancakes

        Zucchini is a great vegetable to add to dishes. Shredded zucchini doesn’t have an overpowering taste and it contains all kinds of nutrients such as vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, and a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein. Another good thing is that it is easy to hide. Pancakes are just one example.

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        Chocolate Zucchini Cake

          Chocolate Zucchini Cake

          This is probably one of my favorites. It is a great dessert and if you don’t tell your kids (or pretty much any adult) it’s in there, the zucchini is pretty hard to differentiate from the awesomeness of the chocolate.

          Quinoa Black Bean Corn Salad

            Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad

            This recipe wasn’t just made for kids; it was made by a kid. Eleven-year-old Haile Thomas created this dish which earned her a trip to the first Kids State Dinner at the White House. Quinoa is very rich in protein and fiber and is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Black beans are very fibrous and contain potassium, folate, and vitamin B6 and have been shown to be good for the health of our digestive tract- particularly the colon.

            Hush Hush Lasagna

              Hush Hush Lasagna

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              This one contains four beneficial veggies: carrots, zucchini, peppers, and onions. Carrots are very rich in vitamin A with good doses of biotin and vitamin K. Peppers are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Onions have vitamin C and chromium which help in regulating blood sugar.

              White and Green Pizza

                White and Green Pizza

                Popeye ate spinach for a reason. It is really good for you. It is rich in iron and is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2. What kid doesn’t love pizza?

                Four Cheese Bake

                  Four-Cheese Pasta Bake

                  Sticking with the spinach theme, this dish puts three cups of that green goodness into a meal.

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                  Sweet Potato French Toast

                    Sweet Potato French Toast

                    Sweet potatoes pack a powerful vitamin A punch. They are also full of vitamin B6 and C. Here is a breakfast recipe to hide them in plain sight. When is the last time you turned down French toast for breakfast?

                    Chocolate Avocado Pudding

                      Chocolate Avocado Pudding

                      Does your kid like pudding? Of course! This is a great way to hide something green in desserts. Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and have more potassium than bananas! Since most people don’t get their recommended daily requirements of potassium, this is a great way to keep that dessert on the menu while also staying healthy.

                      Featured photo credit: Jordan Strickler via agrimediaonline.com

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                      Jordan Strickler

                      Owner, AgriMediaOnline.com

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                      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                      1. Nuts

                      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                      3. Tomatoes

                      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                      4. Broccoli

                      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                      6. Soy

                      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                      7. Dark Chocolate

                      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                      10. Gingko Biloba

                      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                      11. Green and Black Tea

                      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                      12. Sage and Rosemary

                      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                      More About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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