During this challenging time, it’s more important than every that we make the most of the food we eat. By following these simple steps you can maximise the amount of vitamins and minerals in your meals and help support your family’s health.
1) A squeeze of lemon on your green leafy veg
Adding vitamin C from lemon or juice to your spinach, greens, kale, lettuce, rocket, salad etc. aids in the absorption of Iron. Especially important if your child doesn’t eat red meat.
2) Add butter or olive oil to your vegetables
By adding fat to your veg, you absorb more of the fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K. So, dress salad with olive oil, put a knob of butter on cooked vegetables or a dollop of yoghurt in soup.
3) Scrub don’t peel
If you’re buying organic, there’s not need to peel fruit and vegetables including potatoes, parsnips and carrots. After all, most of the vitamins and minerals lie just below the surface, and the skin contains lots of soluble fibre to aid digestion. I find a good scrub is all that’s needed.
4) Soak your beans overnight
Soaking dried beans, lentils and pulses overnight before cooking increases the availability of B and C Vitamins. Sprouting, makes them a powerhouse of vitamins (how to here)
5) Get some sunlight
We get 90% of our vitamin D from sunlight. Through the summer months, make sure your child gets 15 minutes of direct sunlight BEFORE you slap on the sunscreen. More on that here.
6) Steam rather than boil
Steaming vegetables results in a more nutritious food, because fewer nutrients are leached away into the water.
7) Juice with breakfast
Including a small glass (150ml) of fresh orange juice with your child’s breakfast cereal will increase the amount of iron absorbed.
8) Cook meat on the bone
When cooking a stew or roast, make sure you use meat on the bone. The minerals from the bones leach into the stew making it extra nutritious and tasty. In fact, bone broth is nourishing meal for anyone feeling unwell. More on that here.
9) Cook your Carrots
Beta carotene (the orange pigment in carrots that makes vitamin A) is more available to the body when cooked. Other vegetables that are more nutritious when cooked include – tomatoes, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy.
10) Chew your food thoroughly
Making sure your child chews their food thoroughly aids in digestion, so they’ll end up absorbing more nutrients.
11) Unrefined sugar sources
Use unprocessed sources of sugar to bake with as they are high in mineral content, for example use molasses, dried fruit, maple syrup instead of your regular caster or granulated sugar. Or even use sweet fruit and vegetables. Banana loaf is the obvious one to think of, but sweet potato makes chocolate brownies really moist and squidgy, and parsnip is a lovely addition or substitute in a carrot cake. So get creative.
Together we can get through this. Stay well.