Moms everywhere are starting to plan healthy lunches to pack their kids and this year, one brain boosting food is making a comeback – seaweed! The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the nutritional benefits of seaweed and how parents can get their kids to eat seaweed. And last Friday, NBC Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough had nutritionist Mary Gocke from the Center for Health and Healing in New York on his show, who was quoted in the WSJ article, as a guest to talk about why she recommends seaweed for mothers and children (online video here and embed link here)… Chuck even tried seaweed himself, live on air!
Did you know that seaweed contains tons of iodine and that iodine is key to growth in children? Or that a lack of iodine will affect brain development in a fetus? Seaweed can be found in groceries stores nationwide (with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s being especially seaweed friendly).
Below are Mary’s top 5 reasons for why seaweed is a super healthy food for both adults and children and some recipe suggestions for fun, unique ways to incorporate seaweed in your kid’s diet (after all, getting them to eat it is probably the most important/hardest part!).
Mary Gocke from the Continuum Center for Health and Healing in New York, offers these reasons for why sea vegetables such as seaweed make for the perfect, healthy food:
1. Seaweed is loaded with minerals – calcium, iodine, potassium, iron, sodium.
2. Children benefit from seaweed because of its high iodine content - iodine makes up thyroid hormones which are needed for growth and development.
3. Pregnant and nursing moms should eat seaweed – iodine is necessary for brain development in fetuses and newborns.
4. Seaweed is popular in many coastal countries – not just Asia but also South America and has been for centuries.
5. Seaweed has cancer-protective plant compounds – lignan and fucans.
(From top right corner, clockwise: Nori Wrap, Nori strips, Kombu)
You might not think your kids will be very interested in seaweed, but after trying these recipes below, you just might change the whole family’s mind…
- · Nori Omelette – You don’t have even have to wait until lunch to feed your kids a brain boost meal, start with a nori omelette breakfast! Key ingredients: eggs, carrots, nori and onion. (v) (gf) (Nori seaweed comes pre-packaged and ready to eat in thin sheets and is commonly found in grocery stores nationwide)
- · Seaweed Pizza – who says pizza is unhealthy? Be creative with a nori pizza! Key ingredients: Whole wheat pizza crust with your choice of seafood, mozzarella cheese and sprinkled nori
- · Nori Wraps – A quick snack for your kids during recess. Key ingredients: Nori, hummus, carrot stick and turkey and lettuce (gf)
- · N.A.T. (Nori, Avocado, Tomato) – BLT’s healthy cousin with the same satisfying saltiness and crunch. Key ingredients: multi-grain bread with tomato, avocado, nori, and low-fat mayonnaise (v)
- · Seaweed Soba – Children love spaghetti and meatballs, and they’ll love cold seaweed soba too (they can even eat with it with their fingers)! Key ingredients: cha soba, shredded nori and spring onion, make a sauce to accompany with soy sauce, ginger, and shitake mushrooms (v)