Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes

Healthy Body

10 Foods for a Healthier Child

Did you know that childhood obesity has doubled among children ages 2 to 11 years, and tripled among adolescents ages 12 to 19 in the last 40 years?

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Dietetic Association, children and teens are consuming higher calorie diets which are lower in nutrients.

Here are some nutritious foods to get your kids back on the healthy wagon:

Carrots.  Foods with color (carrots, peppers, collard greens), are rich with beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A (an essential nutrient our bodies can’t produce on their own). Beta-carotene has anti-oxidant properties, and is great for our vision and skin.

Beta-carotene, is best absorbed in the body along with a little bit of fat.  Mix carrots with avocado, or with some olive oil.  Cook carrots and add them to soup, spaghetti sauce, or muffin batter.

Spinach contains protein, fiber, iron and niacin. Niacin is a type of B vitamin that helps the body turn carbohydrates into energy. Niacin is also good for the nervous system, digestive system, skin, hair and eyes.

Try replacing iceberg lettuce with spinach leafs in salads and sandwiches.

Oatmeal is a great source of dietary fiber.  Fiber helps keep some cholesterol from being absorbed by the body, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

Add some brown sugar and milk to oatmeal, or try honey and fresh fruits like banana and strawberries. Oats can also be added to cold cereals.

Blueberries contain vitamin C, fiber and manganese. Vitamin C helps the immune system and helps our bodies absorb iron.  Manganese plays an essential role in forming bones and metabolizing fats and proteins.

Add blueberries to cereals, smoothies, or desserts.

Beans are filled with folate, iron, fiber, and calcium.  Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system, and helps control blood sugar levels which is important for diabetics.  Folate helps the body create new cells.

Add kidney beans to soup, or black beans to tacos, burritos, wraps, or salads.  Rinse off canned beans well before using.

Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fat, calcium, iron and vitamin E.  They are healthy for your heart, skin, and bones.

Toss almonds in your salad, or crush them up and sprinkle them on top of a bowl of soup or top off a casserole.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, anti-oxidants, B-complex vitamins, manganese and potassium.  They have a low glycemic index rating which means they digest slower, raising blood sugar gradually and leaving you feeling “full” longer.

Replace french fries for sweet potatoes, or add them to casseroles.

Avocados are loaded with dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They are cholesterol and sodium free, and are a source of monounsaturated fat.

Add some to sandwiches, burgers, salads, and guacamole.

Tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and K, which is important for blood and bone health.

Add fresh tomatoes to sauces, soups, salsa, sandwiches, and salads.

Salmon and Tuna contain potassium (good for muscles, cells, and nerves), lean protein (helps build and repair muscles), and phosphorous (strengthens bones, generates cell energy).  “Wild caught” salmon contain the most nutrients.

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or vegtables.  Make fish sandwiches using canned light tuna, salmon burgers, salmon tacos, or sushi.   Concerned about mercury?  According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, up to 8 ounces a week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood is okay to eat.

Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services cares about our environment and health of you and your family.  For more information on healthy green living and green cleaning, please log on to and  To learn more about the hidden allergy and asthma triggers in your home, log on to


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