It has a mild flavor and crunch that kids tend to like better than the usual salad greens. And cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, broccoli and kale contain phytonutrients known to lower the risk for many types of cancer, as well as improve digestion. It also helps clear harmful toxins from the body by triggering the release of enzymes whose job it is to whisk them out. Ways to get it in your kid’s diet: Make coleslaw with low-fat mayo; shred and toss it into soups or Asian noodle dishes.
It contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which are also known to boost brain development, fend off depression and have superb anti-inflammatory powers. Be sure to pick the wild kind, which is lower in mercury and higher in omega-3’s. Best way to get your kid to eat it: Pair salmon with ingredients he already likes. Glaze salmon fillets with orange juice or brush them with teriyaki sauce. Or serve it as salmon cakes, burgers or salad (mashed and mixed with low-fat mayo).
You probably think of the marshmallow-studded beverage, but cocoa powder actually has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids, a compound known to improve blood pressure and heart and oral health. They may also protect skin from sun damage. Use at least 70 percent pure cocoa and check that it isn’t processed with alkali (also called “Dutch processed”), which removes most of the flavonoids. Ways to serve it (beyond hot cocoa): Sprinkle it on pancakes, waffles or French toast, and melt some dark chocolate and dunk strawberries in it.