16 Aug 2012
It was all I could do to refrain from dropping my jaw in horror when a new acquaintance was telling me about her toddler getting into everything in the kitchen:
“When he was born, I put all the snacks down low so the other kids could serve themselves. Now he tries to serve himself, so there are Goldfish crackers and chips all over the floor all the time. I had to move them back up high.”
Certainly she was concerned about crumbs on her floor, but I was more concerned about what constituted those crumbs.
Potato chips as healthy snacks for children? Oy. I have to remind myself all the time that I live in a real food bubble, and I’m not like the rest of the world.
While others are finding the cheapest foods their kids will eat happily, I’m pondering questions like, “How can I get more probiotic foods into my kids, especially at snack time?”
Why Probiotic Foods are Perfect for Snacks
1. Probiotics Promote Healthy Digestion
What goes in, must come out, and probiotic foods assist your resident gut bacteria and enzymes deal with it all. “Approximately half of the body’s total enzyme production is used for digestion. Oddly enough, the body places a greater priority on digestion than on overall health.” (source)
Studies show that most Americans are actually constipated, although they might not describe it so. Probiotics help to make everything work better. (That’s one of the reasons Attune Foods created healthy chocolate bars, to reach the standard American with something we all enjoy.)
2. Probiotic Foods Boost Immunities
Since 80% of your immune system is in your gut, all the hundred trillion resident bacteria there are pretty important to fending off illness. (source) They can always use a little help in the battle against candida, H. pylori, food-borne illnesses and more.
Some studies are also showing that gut bacteria play a major role in the development of auto-immune diseases like Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Getting your probiotic foods (or taking a supplement, preferably both) may help ease symptoms of many diseases in this category.
3. Probiotics Need to Be Consumed Regularly
Research on probiotics and the way the human micro-biome (the term for all the resident bacteria in our bodies) works is sorely needed, but some of it is currently showing that probiotic supplements exit the gut via excretion within two weeks. It stands to reason that consistent exposure to healthy probiotics, via food and supplements, is a wise way to go.
In the hustle and bustle of daily living, it can be hard to remember to include probiotic foods in every meal, so why not incorporate them into the regular snack rotation?
Probiotic Foods for Healthy Snacking
I brainstormed some good snacking probiotic foods:
* kefir, either milk kefir or water kefir
* smoothies with yogurt or kefir
* Attune healthy chocolate bars
* probiotic potato salad (add yogurt, kefir, or lacto-fermented homemade mayo in the dressing; works for any creamy cold salad)
* fermented veggies: try my easy kimchi recipe or make ginger carrots for snacking, maybe with some cheese for protein to round out the snack
I teach some lessons for an eCourse series that includes an entire course on lacto-fermentation
* lacto-fermented dips: salsa, guacamole, hummus (just add yogurt whey to your homemade dips and ferment a few days at room temp; best to look up a “real” recipe to be sure of proportions though!)
* homemade popsicles with yogurt or kefir
* popcorn with plenty of cultured butter
* you can even ferment fruit leather if you make your own!
* more probiotic foods snacking ideas from Wardeh Harmon, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods
What’s your favorite way to incorporate probiotic foods into your day?
KatieCheck out my latest posts here