Probiotics have been shown to reduce infections (flu season is coming) and typical kid-related problems like colic, eczema, allergies, asthma and intestinal problems. Probiotics can also aid in digestion, support immune function, and repopulate our guts after antibiotic exposure. Research is continuing to discover how essential these little critters are for our health.
Stretch Your Food Dollars & Make Your Cooking Efforts Count!
We all want the best for our kids. And many of us go through a lot of effort to source and cook topnotch, nutrient-dense foods for our loved ones. However, a child can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless they are actually absorbing them, they’re useless. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption. Eating fermented foods, which are rich in enzymes, helps us to absorb the nutrients we’re consuming.
But I Thought Kids Don’t Like Sour Stuff?
Kids gravitate naturally to salty/sweet flavors. Probiotic or fermented foods often taste a bit tangy or sour and a little salty. It can be a little challenging to rebalance a more sweet-adapted palate, but if you add a little sweet to something tangy and salty, kids are generally quick to gobble it up. Be patient, this may take a few weeks to transition toward a more tangy preference. (Of course, this can also work for us bigger kids as well!) Once weaned off those sweeter foods, you’ll find that they can enjoy a bit of tang with true appreciation.
What About Probiotic Supplements?
Kids like to eat! Real food sources of probiotics taste better, are more economical, and have all the cofactors naturally present for your body to recognize and utilize them. While there are special circumstances where a supplement may be needed, generally, for overall healthy, happy kids, food is the optimal means to ingest probiotic critters.
How To Start?
The ideal scenario is to have mom eating fermented foods while she is pregnant and/or nursing or to introduce these cultured foods early when the baby begins eating simple foods. But, if that ship has sailed, don’t worry. It’s never too late to add these delicious, health-supportive ferments. Your kids may already be eating probiotics from foods such as pickles, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kvass and more.
13 Ways to Add Ferments Everyday
- Modeling! If you don’t eat veggies, chances are your kids won’t either. This is also true with ferments. If you eat ferments with enthusiasm, then guess what happens? Your kids will be excited to eat them too.
- Transition. Try swapping out some of the vinegar raw kombucha or fermented pickle brine. This replacement can also be used for a slew of other condiments like dips, dressings, or salsas. Anything unheated is a great opportunity to add some cultures.
- Replace your mayo with cultured mayo Check out this amazing Magic Mayo recipe.
- Chop some fermented carrots or pickles into your mixed green, tuna, or salmon salad.
- Dehydrate! Try making low-heat fermented chips with cultured carrots or kraut. Stay below 110°F to keep those little critters alive.
- Popsicles! Add a bit of pureed carrots to some pickle brine and freeze. Or go hardcore and skip the carrots and simply freeze the brine. Add a bit of pureed fruit to water kefir or kombucha and freeze. These are delicious on a hot day.
- Salsa! Stick to milder spice levels and kids will go crazy for this stuff. Go beyond tomato salsa. I love Pretend You Are in Hawaii Pineapple Salsa.
- Add brine to deviled eggs. Pickle or garlic brine tastes great with bacon-deviled eggs.
- Sneak a bit of kefir, sour cream, or yogurt into a dip or salad dressing. Or add a bit of fruit and call it dessert.
- Make kefir or yogurt leathers. Make them savory with added pureed cucumbers and dill, or pureed pumpkin with nutmeg and cinnamon. Be creative!
- Add cultured kraut or fermented sliced onions to your burgers or sausages.
- Vegetable Kvass. Don’t forget beet kvass. You can add some sparkling water and a dash of lemon and serve. If your kvass is a bit sour, stir in a drop or two of honey.
- Make Our Favorite Kraut Salad! Scroll down for the recipe. I bet this will become a new favorite.
Add Probiotics Today!
It’s super easy to add ferments to your menu with a little planning. Don’t worry if it seems awkward at first, it will quickly become second nature. I bet you, and your kids, will even start to miss them when you eat away from home with no ferment options available.
Our Favorite Kraut Salad Recipe
(or, I Don’t Like Kraut Except for This Kraut Salad Recipe)
I have served this numerous times to people “who don’t like kraut” but gobble this up. Feel free to modify and make this to your own family’s tastes.
- 3/4 cup of raw sauerkraut (this must be raw to get the live probiotics)
- 1/2 cup of raw, julienned carrots
- A small handful of organic raisins or other finely chopped dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoons of minced garlic (optional)
- Splash of pickle brine (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Chill for 30 minutes to let the flavors come together.
- Garnish with a sprig of herbs (chives, dill, cilantro) if you have some handy.