Carrot is a diverse vegetable that adds color, flavor, and texture to food. Besides, it gives nutrients and health-promoting compounds that can benefit health over time. Thus, carrots for kids are a healthy choice, and you can feed them in several ways. For instance, you can add carrots to various dishes to make delicious meals, such as carrot bread and carrot casserole.
Alternatively, you can serve raw carrot sticks with a dip as a healthy, quick snack to relish. Read on as we tell you more about carrots, their health benefits, the best ways to cook them for children, and some exciting, fun facts about this bright orange vegetable.
Carrot Nutrition Facts
Carrot is one of the most popular vegetables because it is easy to grow and healthy too. Here is why you should include carrot in your child’s everyday diet.
- Carrot is rich in beta-carotene, an essential nutrient that enables healthy growth in children. Beta carotene plays a significant role in building immunity and also has anti-aging properties.
- Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is essential for enabling night vision.
- Carrots are rich in thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
- Carrots have dietary fiber, which slows the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
- They are a source of manganese, and vitamins C and K. Fresh carrot roots have high content of vitamin C and provide 9% of RDA.
- Carrots are also rich in minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, copper, and phosphorous.
- Research by the University of Newcastle revealed that carrots also have high content of falcarinol, an antioxidant that can help fight certain types of cancers.
Health Benefits of Carrots
It is a known fact that these are healthy. But in what way are they? Here are the carrot benefits for kids and adults alike.
1. Improves vision
Vitamin A is essential for good vision. The good news is that this vitamin is abundantly available in carrots. Carrots have beta-carotene that is converted into vitamin A in the liver cells. Eating carrots every day can improve eyesight and prevent the risk of eye-related disorders, such as night blindness.
2. Prevents macular degeneration
Eating carrots prevents the risk of macular degeneration in kids. Carrots supply a good amount of beta-carotene, which helps lower the risk of macular degeneration by 40%. Also, beta-carotene splits to form pro-vitamin A, which possesses vision-related antioxidant properties needed for good vision and sharp eyesight.
3. Healthy skin
Carrots have beta-carotene which is a pigment that gives the vegetable its color. Beta carotene also gives your skin a healthy glow, while vitamin A and the antioxidants in the vegetable protect your skin from sun damage. Vitamin A deficiency also results in brittle hair, nails, and dry skin. A healthy diet that includes carrots can also slow down aging, as beta-carotene helps in repairing skin cell damage due to metabolism.
4. Promotes digestion and prevents constipation
Carrots contain high amounts of dietary fiber and promote digestion. Also, fiber stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and ensures smooth bowel movements. So, eating carrots prevents constipation and other stomach disorders.
5. Cures diarrhea
Carrots help cure your kids’ diarrhea quickly and effectively. Drinking carrot soup or juice a few times every day helps compensate for loss of water.
6. Eliminates intestinal worms
Carrots also help eliminate intestinal worms that thrive in your angel’s stomach. Consuming carrot soup or mashed up carrot helps them cure stomach disturbances resulting due to intestinal worms.
7. Improves memory
Carrots are also known to play a significant role in cognitive development. They contain a compound called luteolin, which can prevent brain inflammation and gradual memory loss that comes with age.
8. Cleanses the body
One of the best things about carrots as a snack is that they are low in cholesterol. That is not all. Carrots help remove the bad cholesterol or fat from the liver, while maintaining the bile levels in the organ. Including carrots in your diet can help you cleanse the body of toxins. The dietary fiber in the vegetable helps in keeping the colon clean and quickens the elimination of waste.
9. Keeps the teeth healthy
Have you ever wondered why we eat raw carrot sticks after a meal? Carrots are natural abrasives that help in cleaning the teeth. They clear the plaque from the gums and the teeth, removing any bad odor created by the foods we eat. Calcium and other minerals that carrots have fight off germs and keep the teeth healthy and clean.
The bottom line is that carrot is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals which will do your child a world of good. So make it a part of their diet and encourage them to eat it often.
Additionally, carrots have diverse long-term benefits too. They help in:
1. Preventing cancer:
The compound falcarinol, in combination with beta-carotene, can help avoid different types of cancers, including breast, throat, mouth, prostate, bladder, and intestine. Studies have proven that smokers or individuals exposed to tobacco, who eat carrots at least once or twice a week, have fewer chances of getting lung cancers (1).
2. Reducing the risk of heart disease:
Beta-carotene and alpha carotene act as anti-oxidants and help in managing blood pressure better. A diet rich in carotenoids helps fight heart diseases (2) . Also, carrots contribute to reducing the LDL cholesterol, which is not good for the heart.
3. Preventing stroke:
Carrots help in reducing the chances of a stroke. According to a Harvard University study, regular intake of vegetables, including carrots, can reduce the possibility of a stroke. A person who has at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables reduces his chance of stroke by 30%.
When you are picking carrots for kid, make sure you get her one that has no cuts, bruises, or soft spots. Peel and cut the carrot in half and let her munch on the pieces. If she doesn’t fancy it, you can juice the carrot up and make a smoothie out of it.
Best Ways to Cook Carrots for Kids:
Most kids love carrots because they are tasty and slightly sweet. But like other veggies, carrots can get boring, especially if you give it to your child every day. Here are a few ideas on how to cook carrots, while retaining their nutrients, to make them appealing to children.
- Boiling is one way to cook a carrot. Use only a cup of water to boil 100g of carrots on low flame. That way, the water will evaporate, leaving the nutrients intact. Otherwise, the chances are that a good portion of the nutrients is drained with the water. Boil carrots only if you are going to use the water in the dish.
- Steaming is a better option than boiling, as it hardly needs any water for cooking the carrots. Steamed carrots can be seasoned with cheese and served as a snack for children.
- Saute carrots in a pan if your children like it crispy. You can use half a teaspoon of cooking oil to cook the carrots this way. Add salt and garnish with a little parsley after you cook them. Sauteed carrots are an excellent option for dinner.
- Baked carrots are as healthy as steamed carrots, except they are not soft and mushy. Baking is a healthier alternative to frying carrots, as there is little use of cooking oil or fats.
- Another way to make carrots tasty and interesting is to flavor them. Boil or steam cook carrots first. Then saute them in butter, with sugar and orange juice sauce in a pan.
- Carrot juice is an excellent option for toddlers and young children who prefer liquids to solids. You can also make smoothies with carrot, milk, apple, and honey.
- Roasted carrots make a healthy snack, and can even be served at parties. Slice the carrots vertically, into thin strips, and place them on a baking sheet greased with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, tossing them in between. This way, you have fresh roasted carrots in less than half an hour.
- A healthier way to cook carrots is to boil or steam them whole. That will prevent loss of any nutrients when they are blanched.
Fun Carrot Facts For Kids:
Is carrot a fruit or a vegetable? What gives carrot the bright orange color? Find out the answers and more from these interesting details all about carrots.
- Did you know that carrot is a root vegetable? You guessed it right. It grows underground! What we eat is the taproot of the carrot plant.
- Carrot gets its orange color because of its beta-carotene content. But did you know that carrots also come in purple, white, black, red, and yellow?
- Carrots are made up of 88% water! They have 7% natural sugars, and the rest is protein, fiber, ash, and fat.
- Carrots are so rich in nutrients that one medium-sized carrot can cover your kid’s daily serving of vegetables!
- On an average, an American eats 10.6 pounds of fresh carrots every year.
- Did you know, people first grew carrots for medicinal purposes? In fact, the word ‘carrot’ first appeared in the Book of Herbs, back in 1538.
- Historical paintings and documents revealed that carrots were harvested even 5000 years before now.
- Apparently, carrot is the only vegetable that Santa’s reindeer do not eat.
- The British World War II slogan was “Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in blackout.”
- The biggest carrot that was ever grown was 19 feet long and weighed 19 pounds.
- The Portuguese make jam from carrots. Because of that, some argued that carrot was a fruit and not a vegetable.
- After potato, a carrot is the most popular vegetable in the world.
- The green tops of the vegetable are edible too, although not a lot of people know about it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is one carrot a day enough for my child?
Yes, depending on your child’s food preferences, you may serve them one raw carrot or incorporate carrots while cooking a variety of meals for them.
2. Can a three-year-old eat too many carrots?
Carrots for kids can be a highly nutritious option, especially for eye health. They are also suitable for digestive problems and improve skin and teeth. Carrots have the potential to prevent heart disorders and cancer. They are among the healthiest vegetables that may be eaten raw or cooked. Raw peeled carrots may be added to salads or blended into smoothies with other ingredients. You may also serve them baked, boiled, steamed, or sauteed. The carrots will do you nothing but good regardless of how you consume them.
- P Pisani et al.; (1986); Carrots, green vegetables and lung cancer: a case-control study.
- α-Carotene, β-Carotene, β-Cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin.
- 5 A Day portion sizes.
- Can Eating Too Many Carrots Turn Your Skin Orange?