Did you know that dried fruits have many benefits for children? They are rich in healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, and antioxidant minerals and provide essential energy intake. They are an ideal snack for their health and school performance. Surprisingly, you will find that they hardly consume it. It may be time to increase their presence in their diet.
First, keep in mind that until the age of 3, the child feeds on mashed or blended foods to avoid choking. These foods are best enjoyed raw or cooked, with no added salt or sugar, and not fried.
Benefits of Dried Fruits in Children
Now let’s see the benefits of consuming a handful of dried fruits and nuts (15-20 grams) daily on children’s metabolic, cardiovascular and brain health.
Reduction of Cardiovascular Risks
Did you know that diseases related to the heart are the ones that cause the most deaths? However, their prevention goes through food. This is where nuts and dried fruits are essential because of their richness in mono and polyunsaturated acids.
Thanks to phenolic compounds, which function as antioxidants and omega-three fatty acids, these two fats reduce LDL cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and the oxidation of lipids and produce HDL cholesterol. In children who were overweight or obese, an improvement was observed after replacing unhealthy snacks with dried fruits. They help reduce the carotid artery’s thickness, are a reliable indicator of early vascular damage, and lower blood pressure.
Diabetes, Obesity and Nut Consumption in Children
Dried fruits help reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar values. In other words, they minimize the risk of developing diabetes. You keep a balanced general diet, low in added sugars and trans fats. Another benefit of dried fruits, although very energetic, is that they do not cause weight gain or abdominal buoyancy. Indeed, they contain 160 to 180 kilocalories per 100 grams but are only partially absorbed due to the expense of metabolizing them.
In addition, these fruits are very satiating thanks to their high fibre content. The children are thus stalled for several hours—finally, nothing better than a handful of oilseeds to reduce constipation and the risk of colorectal cancer.
Improved School Performance and Immune System
Dried fruit consumption is linked to improved brain function, as the brain comprises 60% fat. It is, therefore, essential to include foods high in fat, such as dry fruits and nuts, in your daily routine to reduce cognitive decline in adulthood. Also, they are great for increasing memory, learning, and speed of cognitive tasks.
Regarding the immune system, dried fruits are rich in vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium. Therefore, they help fight against infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and external aggressions such as the cold.
You should also know that bacteria in the intestine ferment fibres and polyphenols. Therefore, they act as prebiotics that increase the diversity of the microbiota and maintain the integrity of the digestive mucosa. In addition, they are anti-inflammatory, which would explain their protection against obesity and other metabolic pathologies.
Dried Fruits for The Snack of The Little Ones
Many children enjoy sweet organic dried fruit as a snack. Pairing a small handful of raisins with a dairy product and cereal can create a balanced snack for after school or a quick option for when on the go. To save time:
- Prepare healthy snacks with dried fruit in advance. Your children will appreciate it, and you may even enjoy a snack.
- For those who prefer traditional snacks, consider making almond and chocolate muffins, cranberry and pecan nut cookies, or an apple, walnut, and hazelnut turnover. If you’re limited on time, cocoa toast with mashed banana and cashew nuts can be prepared quickly without cooking.
- Try making a simple pecan nut brownie for a comforting treat after a tough day.
Dried Fruit Creams or Butter For The Children: When Should They Be Included In Their Diet?
Feeding children, especially children under 5, is one of the main concerns of parents. And even though dried fruits are mainly present in our daily lives as snacks and ingredients in the preparation of savoury or sweet dishes, many parents have doubts about when they can make their children consume them.
Dried fruit creams are an excellent option for including these foods safely in the diet of the little ones. Although they are recognized as allergens, according to the study “Don’t delay, Feed today! from McMaster University in Canada, children who eat dried fruits before the age of 1 are less likely to develop allergies than those who only discover them later. It has been shown that the later the first dried fruits are consumed, the greater the risk of the onset of allergies.
Many brands on the internet offer different types of creams produced only from dried fruits, without added sugars or additives such as Almond butter, Hazelnut butter, Cashew butter, Crunchy peanut butter, Smooth Peanut Butter.
These creams are perfectly adapted to the diet of little ones from 6 months old, mixed, for example, with their little pots or yogurts. They will thus be able to safely benefit from all their benefits: proteins, healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins.
Dried fruits are very healthy foods to include in breakfasts and snacks as a supplement. Dry fruit is also an important component in some Mexican breakfast dishes. As you have seen, they are a great help for their concentration and their memory. They also serve to reduce the occurrence of the most common diseases today. Furthermore, they help prevent the progressive neuronal deterioration that occurs with age.
Although the best way to consume them is whole, we find spreads without added sugar in the supermarket today. They are superb on bread with a few slices of banana, apple, pear, and cinnamon. And even as a filling in yogurts can make your day! Would you like to try it?