13 cheap and vegan superfoods for kids to strengthen their health

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Breaking headlines this week, a Norwegian study has indicated up to thirteen years could be added to a person’s life expectancy if they increased the quantity of whole grains and legumes in their diet. 

A whole decade, just through the power of plants. 

Conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway, the study suggested the additional years could be added if an individual was to cut down on red and processed meats, opting for more plant-based eating instead.

However, sustaining a diet of so-called superfoods can be a daunting prospect both financially and practically; it can seem an exclusive world for people with the time and money to deseed pomegranates and concoct chia seed cupcakes. 

Add some hungry children into the mix and this becomes a cooking nightmare. 

But superfood is merely an internet buzzword for natural ingredients high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

Affordable and easy to include in weekly meals which kids love, there are many superfoods available consistently in UK supermarkets much cheaper than organic ground flax seeds. 

Saving you a google trawl, here is a breakdown of Hey Fresto!’s 13 cheap vegan superfoods to bolster your kids’ health with. 

The super 13

1. Bananas 

Aldi: 14p | Morrisons: 15.8p | Sainsbury’s: 14p | (Per banana)

Full of potassium, this funky-coloured fruit is well known for its health benefits. What you might not be aware of though is the key role potassium plays in maintaining a regular heartbeat and ensuring your muscles and nerves function correctly.  

Potassium is also a must in a child’s diet for regulating blood pressure. Possessing a high blood pressure in childhood can negatively affect the individual later on in their adult years. 

Eaten as they are, made into banana bread, or served with soya yoghurt, this yummy yellow favourite is widely available and inexpensive. 

2. Broccoli

Aldi: 47p | Morrisons: 46p | Sainsbury’s: £1.31 | (Per bunch)

The miniature trees of the food world, broccoli is a versatile veggie indicated to reduce the risk of certain cancers

One 2013 publication found evidence suggesting that a phytochemical in broccoli called sulforaphane may help detoxify airborne nasties such as those found in cigarette smoke. Not bad for a dark green veggie many a child has turned their nose up at. 

A healthy and suitable addition to most dishes from chilli to carbonara, broccoli is also delicious when baked with a little oil to crispen and add flavour. 

3. Brown rice 

Aldi: 99p | Morrisons: £1.85 | Sainsbury’s: £1.40 | (Per 1kg pack)

Wholesome wholegrain and nutritious fuel supply, brown rice is simply white rice which has not had its nutrient-rich bran or outer-layer removed. Where the magic happens, the hull or bran of brown rice is a great source of protein and fibre, a good food to give infants and kids if their digestive systems are moving slowly. 

With a nuttier flavour, this carbohydrate works great as an alternative to refined carbs, the perfect complement to a fragrant cauliflower curry or Moroccan squash tagine

4. Green cabbage 

Aldi: 43p | Morrisons: 45p | Sainsbury’s: 43p | (Per cabbage)

One of many green, leafy vegetables, cabbage holds a wealth of goodness such as anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Whilst a less popular member of the fruit and vegetable world among children, cabbages can be smuggled into a meal with little detection. Try slicing them thinly and popping into a stir fry or turning shredded cabbage into vegan fritters

5. Carrots 

Aldi: 40p | Morrisons: 40p | Sainsbury’s: 40p | (Per 1kg pack)

Root veg rule. Carrots are no different. A comforting staple which has fuelled generations, carrots are thought to have originated in Afghanistan as a purple, not orange, vegetable. 

Stuffed with goodness, a half cup of carrot can give kids a whopping 73 percent of their required vitamin A consumption. Aiding growing bodies, this root veggie also supports a child’s cell growth as well as the healthy functioning of their lungs, heart, and kidneys. 

Showing itself in every British supermarket, carrots are easy to get your hands on and ideal to hide in stews for little ones who aren’t a fan. Alternatively, chop these orange veggies into classic sticks to dip into peanut butter or hummus. 

6. Chestnut mushrooms 

Aldi: 87p | Morrisons: 99p | Sainsbury’s: £1.20 | (Per pack)

Wonky, weird, and wonderful, mushrooms are a world of fun to introduce your children to. Unlike a lot of other veggies, these fruitful fungi have a lot of vitamin D which is vital for the development of strong bones and general growth in kids. 

They also contain beta-glucans, a type of complex carbohydrate, which can help lower blood sugar levels – a good food for those with diabetic issues. In addition, shrooms also contain adaptogens which help your body respond to viral and bacterial triggers, a must for kids who are forever picking up bugs from school. 

Earthy and meaty, chestnut mushrooms are equally a brilliant meat substitute to make soups, ramen, risottos, and many other dishes a whole lot cheaper. 

7. Chickpeas

Aldi: 30p | Morrisons: 45p | Sainsbury’s: 55p | (Per 400g tin)

A vegan go-to, these heavenly spheres of plant based proteins are the ultimate proof superfoods do not need to be pricey or time-consuming. Available straight out the tin or dried in a bag, chickpeas can be present in pretty much any type of meal. 

Lean, clean, fibre machines, chickpeas are a good source of zinc which plays a critical role in the growth of children. According to the World Health Organisation, a “deficiency in this micronutrient restricts childhood growth and decreases resistance to infections.” If this wasn’t enough to convince you in favour of the humble chickpea, then know they are naturally gluten-free too. 

Like our other superfoods, chickpeas are impeccable in just about everything. Hidden in hummus or used as a salad supplementer, these protein pearlers have been suggested to benefit brain development and mental health too. 

8. Garlic 

Aldi: 20p | Morrisons: 24.8p | Sainsbury’s: 25p | (Per 1 bulb)

Used as far back as 3750 BC by the Egyptians, garlic makes everything savoury better, it’s just a fact. Far from just a strong-smelling plant, this tangy bulb has been shown to behave as an anticoagulant. In non-science terms, garlic makes your blood platelets less likely to clump together and cause heart attacks. 

So getting your kids into these archaic cloves from an early age might not be such a bad idea! 

Brilliant for spicing up mayo and turning into aioli, garlic is great grilled, fried, baked, or smashed to add flavour to your dish of choice. 

9. Kidney beans 

Aldi: 30p | Morrisons: 45p | Sainsbury’s: 55p | (Per 400g tin)

Good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, kidney beans are maroon gems you should be introducing your kids to. Essential fats which the body doesn’t produce, omega-3 fatty acids are significant in the maintenance of our cell membranes. 

Although black beans are usually preferred in most chilli recipes, red kidney beans are a smashing alternative if the shops are low in stock. Smothered in a smoky, tomatoey sauce, kidney beans are a scrumptious addition to vegan versions of this classic

10. Lentils 

Aldi: 99p | Morrisons: £1.20 | Sainsbury’s: £1.15 | (Per 500g pack)

Soups, stews, pies, casseroles, the list of meals lentils can be included in is practically endless. With its soft texture, this lean legume can be given to children of all ages. 

Loaded with fibre, potassium and folate, lentils are good for children’s and adult’s hearts, keeping them healthy and strong. 

11. Oat milk 

Aldi: 85p | Morrisons: 95p | Sainsbury’s: £1.10 | (Per 1 litre)

A silky and scrumptious substitute for milk, yoghurt, or cream, oat milk is a non-dairy superfood winner. Although a tad more costly than some of our listed vegan superfoods, oat milk is usually on offer in most supermarkets. 

A good source of vitamin B12 which helps our red blood cells to function, oat milk is a plant food you should seriously consider adding into your child’s balanced diet. 

Probably the biggest positive about this delicious drink is the complete absence of saturated fats, the type of fat which increases cholesterol and could lead to heart disease. 

Reserved for your kid’s breakfast cereals or poured as a vegan snack, it is unsurprising oat milk is a winner of the superfood market. 

12. Oats 

Aldi: 75p | Morrisons: 75p | Sainsbury’s: £1.10 | (Per 1kg pack)

A type of cereal grain, oats are well-known for being extremely fibrous and therefore greta for your child’s digestive system. 

Controlling blood sugar, oats help your tummy stay fuller for much longer than its sugary cereal competitors. To keep your little ones satiated for the morning without snacking on sweets, porridge with oat milk is a good idea for a superfood breakfast. 

13. Sweet potato 

Aldi: 89p | Morrisons: 99p | Sainsbury’s: 89p | (Per kg of potato)

An upgrade of the regular spud, sweet potatoes have been indicated to reduce the duration of common colds in children by 13 percent. Good for keeping your child’s skin glowing, these potatoes are packed with vitamin C, copper and B6, aiding cognitive development and immune function. 

Roasted to release sweetness, popped in a simple jambalaya, or mashed with some salt, pepper, and a drizzle of oil, sweet potatoes are a filling and tasty accompaniment to your child’s diet.