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Lazy summer days mean barbecues, ice cream and processed snack foods that are easy and convenient for the beach, pool or park. During the summer however, healthy eating doesn’t have to take a backseat when there are so many healthy summer superfoods for kids. Here are 10.
Cherries are a nutritional powerhouse and one of the best summer superfoods for kids.
Cherries are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps to regulate fluid levels in the body and counteracts the effects of sodium—a good thing if your kids eat high-sodium foods. They also contain quercetin, a plant pigment and an antioxidant that helps balance blood pressure.
Since cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” they can help kids have an easier time falling asleep, which can be challenging during the summer months.
2. Summer Squash
Zucchini and yellow squash are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium, the “calming mineral,” vitamins A, C, and E, B vitamins. Squash is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids or plant pigments found in the eyes that can improve memory and processes speed, one study found.
Grill or sauté summer squash or swap spiralized squash for pasta when you’re looking for a lighter meal.
3. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, B6 and folate and potassium.
Pair slices of red bell peppers with hummus or bean dip for a healthy summer snack, add them to salads, or tuck them inside grilled cheese.
Avocado is a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C and K, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—healthy fats kids need in their diets.
Use avocado to make your own guacamole, swap avocado in for mayonnaise, make avocado toast for breakfast, or mix cut-up avocado with tomatoes and corn for a healthy and delicious summer side dish.
Like cherries, blueberries are high in antioxidants, including quercetin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, according to a 2005 study in the European Journal of Immunology.
Serve blueberries as a snack or add them to oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes.
Corn is a good source of protein, fiber, B vitamins and folate, potassium, lutein and zeaxanthin.
It’s not summer without corn on the cob, but you can also add corn to salads or any vegetable dish.
Sweet and succulent, peaches are one of the best healthy superfoods for kids. Peaches are a good source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber: one large peach has nearly 3 grams.
Serve whole peaches, grill them and drizzle honey on top or add them to yogurt or a cool chia seed pudding.
8. Swiss Chard
All green leafy vegetables are superfoods for kids, but swiss chard, which is in season during the summer, has a mild taste, making it more likely that your child will eat it. Swiss chard is high in vitamins A,C, E, and K, B6 and folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Incorporate Swiss chard into a frittata or quiche, sauté it as a side or add it to homemade pizza.
Just like peaches, plums are the quintessential summertime fruit. Plums are a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K and potassium.
Serve plums alone, or add them to green salads or a fruit salad.
Watermelon is a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. Since it has a high water content, it keeps kids hydrated during the summer and helps satiate their hunger without a lot of calories: 1/2 cup has only 30 calories.
Watermelon also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that supports eye health, brain health, and is heart-healthy.
Serve wedges of watermelon, mix it with feta cheese as a side dish, or grill it up on a kabob.