Hélène Baribeau, MSc, DtP
As parents, we want to provide our children with the best food possible. However, kids are sometimes put off by the taste and appearance of healthy foods. Some children, for example, donâ??t like the taste of certain soy-based beverages.
As parents, we want to provide our children with the best food possible. However, kids are sometimes put off by the taste and appearance of healthy foods. Some children, for example, don’t like the taste of certain soy-based beverages.
Soy beverages nevertheless offer kids many health benefits. A cup of enriched soy beverage meets 25 percent of your children’s daily calcium requirements, 45 percent of their vitamin D requirements, and 10 percent of their iron requirements and is a good source of protein. Some soy drinks also contain essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, which are important for optimal brain development. Omega-3 may also help prevent hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders.
According to a study published in 2005, consuming more soy products, as well as fruits and vegetables, stimulates bone growth in children and teens. Soy protein helps protect children from chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Tempting and Tasty
So how can you incorporate more soy foods into your child’s diet? Soy beverages are an easy way to introduce soy foods. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (July/August 2004) showed that using conveniently packaged soy drinks made it easier to include soy in the diets of young teens. Soy beverages in individual drink boxes that required no refrigeration, featured kid-friendly packaging, and were easily added to lunchboxes were ideal for incorporating soy.
To help your kids accept soy beverages, it may help to let them know that soy-based drinks will energize them and keep them going, unlike sweetened soft drinks and juices, which can disrupt balanced blood-sugar levels. Soy drinks are loaded with high quality proteins, low in calories, and high in nutrition. Use soy beverages to replace higher-fat foods and reduce the overall fat content of your children’s diet.
Taste is obviously also a major factor to consider when incorporating a new food. To make your task easier, you can now find delicious soy beverages on the market that mask the sometimes unpleasant aftertaste of soy by combining it with various grains such as oats. Oats, a functional food just like soy, are also known to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. A great tasting cereal, oats add sweetness to soy beverages.
To get the most out of soy beverages, you can also use them in your kids’ favourite recipes for cookies and muffins. Soy-based beverages are a great nutritional option for children and a convenient way to pack nutrients into that lunchbox!