I love to read about nutrition. Whenever I find some free time (of course between work and children I don't have that much), I love to immerse myself in books, magazines and the internet jumping from web page to web page looking for interesting information. From this I have adopted many of my “crazy” and “strict” ideas to feed my children, of which I am very proud.
I am not afraid of giving my kids strange and strong flavors if they are coming from nutritious and healing food. Kombucha, Rooibos or Hibiscus tea? Ripple milk? Greek yogurt? Yes, yes and yes. Might not seem like the ordinary to-do list for kids, but trust me, my twins love all the ingredients I mentioned before, and I would like to share with you how I include it in their daily meals.
Let me start by stating the non-permitted drinks: neither packed fruit juices nor natural fruit juice (low in fiber, tons of sugar, preservatives, additives…), no commercial teas, and of course NO sodas. As pointed by many researchers and backed up by organizations such as the CDC, soda and sugary drinks are guilty of adding calories to our daily menu, and contribute to obesity and related chronic diseases such as fatty leaver disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend fruit juices for children under a year, and state that for older children whole-fresh fruit Is preferable over juice.
So, what’s to drink?
Water, water and more water of course. Why? water is the main source of hydration, so keep it on hand for every moment so they can grab it when thirsty. Preferably with no ice.
For breakfast, I usually give them fruit with Greek yogurt and Kombucha tea. Kombucha is a fermented tea (living microorganisms ferment the sugar added to the tea) that has a long history in the Chinese culture. Several studies made in the last 10 years, and gathered in a 2016 study made by polish researchers, suggest that Kombucha tea has hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic properties, as well as antioxidants. I have been using GT’S Kombucha tea for a long time (especially ginger flavor because the kids love it), but there’s mango, lavender, cranberry, guava, cherry… as many others you could try. For breakfast, I give them a small glass (about 4 oz) of this kombucha.
Other drink the kids love is my home-made kicking smoothie, which I give them every second day.
I have two recipes:
1st. One is made out of ripple milk or almond milk, almonds, walnuts, Greek yogurt, spirulina, rooibos tea, cocoa powder, vitamin C and manuka honey (1 tsp maximum.
2nd. One has carrots, celery, dill, almonds, walnuts, Greek yogurt, spirulina, rooibos tea, vitamin C and Manuka honey (and ripple or almond milk as the base). They are real nutritious bombs. Protein and probiotics from yogurt, healthy fats from nuts and cacao, antioxidants from tea and vitamin c, and countless benefits from spirulina (a micro-alga full of micronutrients). Spirulina benefits, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, include digestive properties, high concentration of B vitamins (essential for good metabolism), immune system booster and antioxidants, among others.
Water and Herbal teas are my other drinking option. When we go out for a walk we sometimes enjoy a refreshing hibiscus tea drink, or at home, especially on weekends, we prepare a nice hot rooibos tea. There is no age nor scenario to say no to a millennial beverage that soothes body and mind. We need to teach our kids to taste it all, solid or liquid, with no barriers. Let’s not make assumptions about them not liking something before we try. Remember that introducing foods to our children is a process than can take time (and patience), but the greatest achievement is to have them eating and drinking nutritious food.
Ditch the soda and packed juices and give some space to the new wave of beverages for our kids. Give it a try and tell me how it goes!