Eating more raw foods (vs cooked) is a must for you and your family. Eating raw reduces the loss of vitamins and minerals that occur when food has been heated or cooked, nutrients that are the essential fuel for our bodies’ growth and immune systems. The good news is that most of us naturally eat some raw foods in everyday life; it’s just a matter of degree.
Local and in-season foods are best, and buy organic if you can. Below is a list of 6 of my kids’ favourite nutrient-rich and enzyme-rich raw foods. I hope your little munchkins love them as much as mine!
1. Avocado –Available all year round, it is rich in protein, enzymes, fibre, potassium, vitamin E and healthy fats. Spread on toast or sandwiches, add to smoothies (which thicken while creating an ice-cream like consistency), make guacamole, or add to sushi rolls.
2. Blueberries – Blueberries are a wonderful way for children to get a natural sweet fix. They are a superior source of antioxidants, which are important in fighting harmful free radicals which can lead to cancer and other diseases. Add blueberries to morning smoothies, to cereal, in your healthy muffins, or mixed into yogurt.
3. Lettuce – In season all year round, lettuce is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, manganese and chromium, as well as being a very good source of dietary fibre. My kids have fun making iceberg lettuce cups which they fill with lots of healthy fun stuff like prawns, tuna, grated carrot, cucumber with a squeeze of lemon or lime, just roll and enjoy!
4. Almonds– Almonds are high in fibre; contain healthy omega-9 oleic fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Kids can sprinkle raw almonds on their muesli or yoghurt, have a handful as a snack, or use almond butter instead of peanut butter (most processed peanut butters on the grocery shelves today are loaded with sugar and partially hydrogenated fats). Almond butter can be spread on anything from bread, to lettuce leaves or apple slices, or be added to smoothies.
5. Coconut – Besides being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, coconuts are highly nutritious and hydrating. They are also rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. We choose the baby coconuts at home and drink the water and eat the flesh as a complete snack or add the water and flesh as the base for our mango or berry smoothies.
6. Raw Honey – This is an unprocessed sweetener which has all its vitamins and minerals intact and can help with seasonal allergies. Drizzle on top of yoghurt or muesli or dip pieces of cut up fruit into it – yum!
Other wonderful and nutritious raw foods to enjoy over summer include apricots, raspberries, strawberries, peaches and nectarines, melons, plums, passionfruit, pineapple, beans, beetroot, capsicum, celery, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, zucchini and sweet corn.
Have a plentiful day.