Getting your kids to eat eye-healthy food

We all know that proper nutrition and a healthy diet is what gives our bodies their strength to go about our days. Some foods even contribute to keeping our eyes healthy. However, given a choice, many kids could easily eat entire meals made up of just pizza, chips, cookies, and soda every single day. (In fact, it wouldn’t be too far off to assume that some adults would also willingly subsist on a similar diet.) That said, we understand the dilemma of getting kids (or even grown-ups) to eat good food, especially food that is great for keeping your eyes healthy. Here are some kid-friendly foods which may entice them:

1) Flatbreads and pizzas
Pizza in itself is not bad. The problem is that some pizzas are made with so much unhealthy grease and toppings that the oil even seeps through the box. So instead of dialing the nearest pizza place, why not create your own and cover it with healthier toppings?

Kale or spinach can be great additions to any pizza, along with the lycopene-rich tomatoes in the sauce. Lycopene has been found to be great against the development of age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or MD), an eye issue that leads to blindness in older people. The two leafy vegetables, on the other hand, have lutein and zeaxanthin which help lessen the risk of cataracts.

2) Smoothies and popsicles
Who doesn’t love smoothies? They’re sweet, easy to make, and good for you. Great for breakfast or a snack in a glass! Or if you’re having a sweltering summer, beat the heat with a couple of homemade popsicles.
To make sure your kids’ smoothies and pops pass the eye health test, add a little orange (also packed with lutein and zeaxanthin) and blueberries, which have antioxidants like vitamins C, A & E, as well as zinc – all of which help protect the eyes from conditions like dry eyes and macular degeneration.

3) Fish kebabs and barbecues
Some fish are also particularly good for the eyes, especially the types with omega-3 fatty acids. Generally marketed as heart-healthy fatty acids, it turns out omega-3 also decreases the risk of macular degeneration and is luckily found in fish like salmon and tuna.

Now if state fairs can be used as an indication, people of all ages gravitate towards food on sticks so why not make some salmon or tuna kebabs? Or if BBQs are more your style, grilled tuna or salmon steaks are sure to be winners.

Other fish rich in the healthy fatty acids are arctic char, sardines, and anchovies. (You can put that last one on your flatbread too!)

4) Dark Chocolate
You and your kids may be surprised to learn that something so good can be quite good for you. Dark chocolate has bioflavinoids which have vitamin C. Apart from protecting you and your family from cardiovascular disease, bioflavinoid-rich foods lower the risk of cataracts and macula degeneration. A little snack or dessert of dark chocolate may actually be good for you. Or maybe you can try making Aztec hot chocolate, which also has a bit of hot chili peppers (another food with bioflavinoids!) in it!

As you can see, getting your kids to eat healthy foods to improve their eye health shouldn’t be too hard. All it needs is a little imagination because many of the things they may already enjoy just need a little tweaking to become healthier for their eyes. And if you set an example by eating the same nutritious food too, then they’ll get used to it as well.

Happy eating!

Just the same, if you really want to ensure that everyone’s eyes are healthy and free from disease and strain, it’s best to go in for regular eye exams. Check with your eye doctor (optometrist) at least once a year so you know if your eyes are in good working order. Find an eye doctor who can not only diagnose and treat your eye problems but is also willing to explain the facts to you if you have any questions about your eyes’ conditions. If you live around the Greenacres, Florida area, you can visit Dr. Hetel Bhakta at Planet Vision Eyecare for any questions and issues pertaining to your eyes’ health.

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