For a while now, my two older kids have been going through the picky-eating phase. When they were babies, I recall them loving all the pureed fruits and veggies. And these days, as long as they are blended into smoothies, shakes, salsas, dips, and anything else that doesn't remotely resemble the actual produce, they don't complain. They actually eat it all up and ask for more! I am grateful that they have recently been getting better at trying new things other than blended foods - dried mangos, small slices of apples with peanut butter, and baked potatoes (instead of just french fries).
Now one thing that the kids do love, and I mean L-O-V-E, are nuts! They eat them every day by the handfuls, with yogurt or cottage cheese, in their cereals or oatmeals, in trail mix or just by themselves. They are fortunate enough to not be allergic to any nuts so far. And for that, I am a happy Mommy!
We buy a lot of our nuts in the bulk section of Whole Foods. It's the very last stop of our shopping trip, and boy, do the kids love it, including my husband. Every week, I hear, "we're out of almonds, Mommy," or my husband will smile and say, "oops, I'm out of pistachios at work." We can easily spend a third or more of our grocery budget on nuts and trail mix every week, and that is one thing I do not mind doing. Our family has gone from munching on non-organic and sweet fruit bites and salty chips to these healthy and awesome snacks.
Some of our favorite nuts and (some, but not all of) their health benefits are:
- peanuts: rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, mono-unsaturated fatty acids to help lower LDL (or bad cholesterol), and resveratrol that fights against cancers, heart disease, and viral/fungal infections
- almonds: awesome gluten-free storehouse of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help protect against diseases and cancers, vitamin E, and mono-unsaturated fatty acids
- macadamia nuts: excellent cholesterol and gluten-free source of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants
- pistachios: great low-calorie source of antioxidants, carotenes, vitamin E, important B-complex groups of vitamins, minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium
I love using nuts and seeds in my cooking and baking. Our weekend favorite pancakes and waffles always has fruits, flax seeds, and cinnamon in them, and the kids are none the wiser. We receive macadamia nuts from our 'ohana (family) from Hawai'i every few months, and they are awesome in white chocolate chip cookies. It's always a great day when the kids can eat and snack on things that are nutritious. I can sleep well knowing that they aren't deprived of, allergic to, or do not care for, these healthy and yummy foods.