I’m excited to tell you that this post is sponsored by Abbott and may help you to think outside the box when it comes to your family’s nutrition!
It’s that time of year again, where we start thinking about getting our kids ready for back to school. That means buying new clothes, buying school supplies, preparing meals, planning schedules, eating healthier and doing everything that we can, to get our children the best start that they can have in school. After all, we don’t want them to waste their time, we want them to do what they’re supposed to do while they’re in school. Learn!
I don’t know about you, but my children tend to gravitate toward unhealthy snacks, especially if you provide easy access to them. However, I aim to provide them with healthier options and those that include foods that have lutein in them. I also aim to make them a little fun every now and then.
Why Do I Care if My Kids Have Lutein?
Because it’s recently been discovered that it can increase their cognition throughout life, including enhancing their learning and memory. And yes, that means, they’ll do better on their tests if they have enough lutein in their systems!
Not only that, but it also helps improve cognitive function at EVERY stage of life, even into adulthood. Of course, that means it’s good for the whole family. A leading scientist at the global healthcare company Abbott says “Our research – from infancy to adulthood – brings to life the important role nutrition plays in helping to create strong brain connections, helping us to focus, and preserving our memories.”
I know that I can use all the focus and memory preservation I can get. The busier I get and the older I get, the less I seem to be able to focus well or remember things. It can be frustrating! I say, bring on the lutein rich foods for me, my husband AND my kids!
What Foods Have Lutein?
There’s a lot of them actually.
You’ll find lutein in leafy greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens and Swiss chard, as well as in brightly colored fruits like apples, lemons, grapes, blueberries, strawberries and even avocados. You can even find it in egg yolks and broccoli. So really, you have a wide assortment of places to find lutein that you and your kids can easily consume. The trick is getting your kids to eat them.
And that, my friends, is what this post is all about. My kids LOVE eating anything if it looks like it’s fun. So, I decided to try a little experiment to see how they’d react to having their fruits and vegetables turned into lady bugs, caterpillars and cars. They absolutely LOVED it.
1. Grape Caterpillars
What you need:
- Skewers (with the pointy end cut off) or lollipop sticks.
- Candy eyes
- Black icing (to “glue” eyes and make mouth)
- Spinach Leaves
This one was almost too easy. Take your lollipop stick or skewer and put grapes on it, until you have covered the whole stick. After that, use the black icing to “glue” the candy eyes to the first grape and to make a quick smiley face below that. Place on top of spinach leaves to make it look like they’re crawling in the trees.
My 3 year old quickly grabbed a couple of those spinach leaves up and ate them, along with a whole stick full of grapes!
2. Apple Cars
My 6 year old son adored these cars. He says the wheels even turned, lol. He would know!
What you need:
- Apples, cut into slices.
- Cut apple into slices, making sure to square off the inside cut, so that it sits without falling over, on a flat surface.
- Use a toothpick (cut off ends with a pair of scissors, if you don’t have squared end toothpicks, for safety), and jab it through, right where the wheels would be. Be careful to hold it straight, as it has a tendency to go in crooked.
- Place grapes on the ends of those toothpicks to make the wheels of your car.
3. Strawberry & Blueberry Lady Bugs
This activity was by far the favorite among the kids. I let them participate a little and decorate their own lady bugs. My kids are more likely to eat healthfully if they participate in the food preparation. If your kids have an aversion to blueberries like some of mine did, you could try using a grape instead.
What you need:
- Candy eyes
- Melting Chocolate
- Spinach leaves
- Icing bag or quart size storage bag
- Melt chocolate in microwave and scoop into icing bag or storage bag. If using a storage bag, cut a tiny hole in the corner, so you can use it as a decorator’s bag.
- Cut strawberries in half, laying flat side on plate or napkin.
- Take chocolate and use it to glue blueberry to front of strawberry and then to attach the candy eyes.
- Draw spots and a line down the back, using the chocolate bag.
- Place on spinach leaves and serve.
What other ways can we encourage our kids to eat lutein rich foods? Share YOUR ideas in the comments!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Abbott.