Foods containing soy have a lot to brag about: Soy has no cholesterol, protects against poor heart health and tastes delicious. It may even show promise for boosting mental health and promoting healthy bones – it's no wonder so many parents are jumping on the soy bandwagon and incorporating these healthy soyfoods into their child's diet. The American Heart Association even supports soyfoods as part of a heart-healthy diet.
The benefits of soy for children
Soy contains many essential nutrients that are vital for growth and development. It also is a great source of protein and can be substituted for meat, dairy or vegetables. Products containing soy tend to be lower in both fat and calories when compared to those meat or dairy foods. Therefore, soy is extremely helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Soy products are also lactose-free, allowing children who can't have dairy products to enjoy a glass of soy milk. Those with nut allergies can also enjoy a soy nut butter and jelly sandwich or snack on roasted soy nuts. Soy is also a quick fix for children who have wheat allergies.
Children should be eating 2 to 3 cups per day of milk or milk equivalent, about 5 ounces or protein per day and approximately 2 ½ cups of vegetables. With soyfoods, reaching these equivalents is super simple. There are so many soy products out there, giving even the pickiest of eaters a few options. From soy dairy-free frozen desserts and soy pasta to soy chips and soy nut butter, there is plenty to choose from! Here are a few ways to help your children enjoy soyfoods and all of the benefits that come along with them:
Whip up a protein-rich fruit smoothie for your little one using a protein powder like Naturade Total Soy. Make sure to add in all of their favorite fruits and cool crushed ice to amp up the natural sweetness and keep them coming back for more!
Opt for meatless pizza and use soy versions of pepperoni, sausage crumbles, deli ham or bacon as healthy and tasty alternatives.
Make some homemade trail mix using honey-roasted and chocolate-covered soy nuts, whole-grain cereal, raisins and dried fruit.
For a morning meal that will leave kids satisfied, spread some soy nut butter on whole wheat toast for a perfect alternative to peanut butter.
Chocolate soy milk works for a refreshing and sweet drink.
Pack soy yogurt in their lunch for a creamy treat packed with lots of calcium.
Cut up their favorite veggies to dip in hummus made from soybeans – this also makes a tasty sandwich spread.
Add soybeans to your family garden to teach your children about new foods and the benefits of soy. They can be planted alongside potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries and celery.
Use soy milk in their favorite cereal for a super simple way to up their soy intake
Have veggie burgers for dinner – they're tasty and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than regular hamburgers