With research by Asda showing that 60% of children don't know how long it takes vegetables to grow and one in ten think that kale is a boy's name, Asda Nutritionist Hayley Marson recommends the top seven plant-based foods that children should know know more about as part of the supermarket's Food School launch.
Kale - Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in vitamins C, which help to keep skin healthy. Kale is also a source of vitamin B6, which alongside vitamins C helps to support the immune system. It is a super versatile vegetable- add it to stir fries, steamed or even baked with a little oil and some spices for a delicious, crunchy snack!
Lentils - Lentils are a great plant-based alternative to meat as they are high in protein, which is important for the growth and development of bone in children. Use them to create a mild curry or use in a veg soup to warm the kids up on a colder autumn night. An 80g portion of lentils also counts towards your 5 a day, so add them to dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese or cottage pie- the kids will never know!
Peppers - Peppers are high in vitamin C, which helps to support healthy teeth, gums, skin and bones. Vitamin C also helps to support the immune system. Red, green, orange and yellow- peppers make for a colourful addition to any meal or can be cut into strips and shapes for snacks kids will love.
Sweet potato - Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin C and contain beta carotene. An 80g portion of sweet potato also contributes to your little ones 5 a day, so cut into wedges and bake in the oven for an alternative to chips or mash and serve with turkey sausages. You can also add to mashed potato in cottage pie to brighten up dinner time!
Oats - Oats are high in fibre and contain oat beta glucans. When eaten as part of a meal, oat beta glucans reduce the rise in blood glucose after the meal, providing a slow release of energy. Porridge is a great start to the day- get kids involved and choosing their own toppings: berries, bananas and other fruit, nuts and seeds all add variety to their diets. You can also add oats to bakes, soups and crumbles.
Almonds - Almonds are a source of plant-based protein and magnesium and are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Protein supports growth and development of bone in children and magnesium supports healthy bones and teeth. Almonds and other nuts and seeds make for a nutritious snack- mix with unsweetened dried fruits to add to your 5 a day. However, be sure to check school policy on nuts before adding to lunchboxes.
Pomegranate seeds - Pomegranate seeds are a bright and colourful way to add to your 5 a day. Sprinkle these pretty pink jewels in yogurt or on a salad for a tasty sweet treat. You can also cut them in half and create a game by getting the kids to bang the seeds out.
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