Kids can be picky about what they will and won't eat. It can be extremely difficult to get a child to try something new, especially if it is healthy. Kids have no problem trying a different flavor of ice cream, but a new vegetable? Forget about it. Nonetheless, it is still worth the extra effort to present children with a variety of healthy options, fingers crossed that they will eat it without a fuss. One option you may consider is to supplement with chia seeds, a nearly flavorless superfood with many health benefits. They are high in protein, fiber, and rich in essential fatty acids (including Omega 3s). For more information on the health benefits that chia seeds can provide for your child, check out another InfoBarrel article I wrote: Chia Seeds are the Perfect Superfood for Kids.
This article discusses six opportunities to introduce chia seed to your child's diet. The ideas and recipes presented are modifications of foods your child most likely already knows and loves to eat. The key to successfully incorporating chia into your child's diet is to do it subtly. In other words, just present the dish without further explanation. How are they to know that the plate of chia chocolate chip cookies shown below are any different (and healthier) than the usual batch unless you tell them?
Idea: Chocolate Chip Chia Cookies
Who doesn't like cookies? I've never seen my daughter refuse a complimentary cookie sample at the bakery counter. Baked goods are probably the easiest way to get your kids to eat chia without even noticing. A quick online search for "chia cookie recipes" will get you all sorts of variations on the concept.
2. Single Serve, On-the-Go Pouches
Mamma Chia Squeeze Vitality Snacks
Single-serve squeeze pouches of fruit and veggie purées are popular with kids of all ages and convenient to grab on the go. Mamma Chia brand squeeze packs market a similar concept, only with chia seeds already blended into the purée. However, the consistency of this purée is different that the fruit purée varieties (the chia retains its bubble-bead like texture.) Mamma Chia Squeeze Vitality Snacks come in four varieties and can be found in Whole Foods and online. Their packaging can withstand the scrutiny of apprehensive children: since the purée gets sucked directly into the mouth, kids won't actually see the seeds they're eating. As the product is not explicitly marketed to kids, you may want to make it more appealing by affixing fun children's stickers to the package.
Idea: Chia Oatmeal with Apples
Supercharge your kid's oatmeal by adding chia seed and fresh fruit. Remember that the seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid, so use a bit more liquid than you usually would to prepare your oatmeal. Add about a teaspoon of chia seeds after the oatmeal is cooked, just after you've removed it from heat. Stir the mixture together and let it sit for about a minute, adding more water/milk if necessary. Top with some fresh or dried fruit (which will help to camouflage the chia seeds) and serve.
4. Super Smoothies
Idea: Strawberry Banana Chia Smoothie
Kids love smoothies, making this tasty treat another great vehicle for chia seeds. The ingredients can be customized to your child's preferences. If your child hasn't yet tried a smoothie, chances are they've seen them before; the characters on the Nickelodeon network's hit program "The Fresh Beat Band" enjoy smoothies often on the show. Fans of the show will certainly want to enjoy a smoothie of their own. Making smoothies is easy enough that kids can help, which also might make them more inclined to give it a try.
Idea: Lemon Chia Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries
Kids love pancakes. Lots of them. Making them at home gives you the opportunity to add healthy ingredients such as ground flaxseed, fresh fruit, and of course, chia seeds. Make one or two different recipes on a Sunday morning and freeze them to be enjoyed for breakfast later in the week. A much more delicious and healthier option than store-bought frozen pancakes.
Idea: Refrigerator Raspberry Jam
Homemade refrigerator jam is a breeze to make, using chia seeds which naturally form a gel when mixed with water or juice. Sterilization/canning methods are not used here; just be sure to keep the jam refrigerated to prevent the growth of bacteria. Add a spoonful to enhance your child's toast, sandwiches, graham crackers, or waffles.
Check out this classic for more sneaky nutrition tricks
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