Okay, I admit it – I am a health nut – a real kook when it comes to both mine and my families health. Before having kids I had visions of being this perfect earth mother who would only feed her children home-grown organic produce, the perfect, sweet tempered darlings would be brimming with health and bursting with love for me. Hmmm….
It would seem that in the interim between my childless self and now there has been somewhat of a glitch. My three little cherubs turned out to be a little less angelic than I imagined, and my idea of growing my own food got lost amongst work, school runs and taxi duties.
To make matters worse, I did not envision my 10 year old gazing on a piece of kale as it if were a piece of overdue math homework! After some consideration on the matter, and many tears, both mine and theirs, I decided that if I couldn’t beat them then I would simply trick them. There is only so much broccoli and kale one can hide on a child’s plate so my solution was simply to find tastier alternatives and not let on they were actually healthful.
Armed with these delicious treats, I added some of them to school lunches where I figured I had a captured audience – it was either eat them or go without, and voila! It worked. The kids are happy believing that food so delicious cannot possibly be doing them any good and I am content in the knowledge that they are getting all the nutrition I can possibly pack into them.
So what are these secret super-foods that are both brimming with natural disease fighting goodness as well as a delight to the tongue? I have picked out my favorite top four, selected for their range of medicinal benefits and tastiness. Enjoy!
What a versatile and magical super-food Manuka Honey is!
Everything from boosting the immune system to increasing digestive function is treated with this delicious treat. Packed with B vitamins, amino acids, calcium, iron and so much more. One caution though, make sure you buy it from a reputable supplier. I get mine from Mr Vitamins, who provide a clear and concise guide of what to look for to ensure you get the genuine article. Mix some into a small container of organic Greek yoghurt and place it with an ice pack into their lunch boxes or serve it as an after school treat in place of regular honey.
Manuka Honey also has medicinal qualities when used externally, as it contains anti-bacterial qualities.
There are a huge range of berries available and each type are packed with a variety of health benefits. The list is endless, and I encourage you to try as many different varieties as possible. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started:
- Goji Berries – aid with immune system, vision, skin and have cancer fighting benefits
- Cranberries – aid with urinary tract health, immune function and have cancer fighting benefits
- Raspberries – prevent cancer cell growth, contain strong antioxidants, can control your weight
Dates and Figs
Both dates and figs are powerhouses packed with nutrients. The benefits of eating them include:
- High in iron and aid with iron deficient anemia
- Lower blood pressure
- Promote respiratory and digestive health
- Aids to weight loss
- Support regular bowel movements
- Reduce heart disease risk
- Assist with diarrhea
Not mentioned on this list are the medicinal qualities of the fig leaf – but I will leave that for another day.
Whilst all natural, organic yogurt has health benefits, Greek yogurt has almost double the protein, fewer carbohydrates, less sodium and is thicker and creamier due to being strained more. This marvelous digestion aid which is full of probiotics can act as the delicious basis for a myriad of dishes. Try mixing in some of the above foods for a healthy school snack.
The above are just a small sample of ideas where natural and healthy sweet treats can replace the empty calories and health destroying negative impact of refined sugar. Mix and match them or experiment with a few recipes of your own. Not only will your family be healthier, their behavior, mental alertness and mood will all improve. Now that’s sweet!