Mom-Tested Tips and Ideas
Stetson finds most of her recipes in a cookbook called 123 Cook for Me by Karin Knight and Jeannie Lumley. "I tend to prepare the super foods very simply so that my baby actually tastes the flavors and can become accustomed to them and enjoy them," Stetson says. "During the summer we went blueberry picking at a local farm. I gave her oodles of blueberries just fresh as snacks (or mixed with chunks of banana) and froze many more."
A favorite breakfast food of Stetson's daughter is instant oatmeal made with whole milk. She then microwaves a small dish of frozen blueberries for approximately 30 seconds. "I then smash up the blueberries, mix them in the cereal, and voila, her favorite breakfast dish: blue oatmeal."
In addition to many of the superfoods listed above, Shari Schmidt of Palos Hills, Illinois, feeds her daughters beans (hummus), bananas, flax seeds, spinach, walnuts, oats, pumpkin, oranges, and tomatoes, which have often been included on superfoods lists.
"We eat these foods as a family so we can model good eating habits," Schmidt says. "Guacamole with cheesy chips is a favorite treat. The girls mash the avocado while I microwave some low-fat cheese on organic tortilla chips. It's fun and healthy. I also add ground flax seed to as many dishes and baked goods as possible. This is an easy way to increase omega-3s and fiber."
Even babies can enjoy superfoods. Susan Conyers of Daleville, Indiana, puts frozen pieces of super foods fruits and vegetables into a "mesh feeder" for her 7-month-old daughter to chew on. "The mesh is really fine, so only the tiniest pieces get through, and there's no choking hazard," she says. "It's great to have when she's teething because I'm not afraid she's going to bite through the teether, plus it tastes much better!"
Too Much of a Good Thing?
There's really no way to overdo it when it comes to these healthy foods. But it's still about balance. "Three to five servings of the superfood items added to a toddler's diet on a daily basis would be sufficient," Dr. Vazirinia says. "Special attention should be paid to a balanced inclusion of all the essential nutrients, secondary to the limited amount that a child can consume in a given meal and day."
Dr. Vazirinia also recommends parents be very careful with unpasteurized preparation techniques used for items in their child's diet or imported food items that may not adhere to FDA standards. "These items are reserved for after the first birthday because of their high protein content and the possibility of evoking a severe allergic reaction," she says.