Before we dive into these foods, let’s make sure we all understand why probiotics are important.
What Are Probiotics?
Each of us houses a bacteria ecosystem within our digestive system. This ecosystem, also called your microbiome, contains a mix of good and bad bacteria. This delicate balance of bacteria directly influences your immune system and your overall health. It’s important to maintain a healthy equilibrium, as an imbalance can negatively impact your health.
Probiotics are strains of good bacteria that reset the precarious balance of your microbiome and keep your gut fully operational. Essentially, probiotics support a healthy immune system and the adventurous lifestyles of young kids. Most kid-friendly probiotic foods will contain strains of healthy and “friendly” bacteria, which may include:
Yes, we know that these names are not very descriptive. But these are some of the best “friendly” bacteria strains that will benefit your child’s health and wellness. So, when you’re shopping for kid-friendly probiotic foods, remember to scan the nutritional labels for those difficult-to-pronounce names listed above.
The Best Kid-Friendly Probiotic Foods
There are TONS of different food products that are packed with friendly probiotic strains. But the probiotic content can vary greatly from one food to the next. Let’s touch on some of the best kid-friendly probiotic foods and why they’re so great for your child’s health.
You can’t talk about probiotic foods without mentioning yogurt! Made from the milk of cows, goats, or sheep, live cultured yogurts are bustling with healthy bacteria. Plus, kids love yogurt, so why not pack a container for their school lunch?
However, we should note that not just any yogurt will do. Supermarkets and grocery stores offer vast varieties of yogurt products that range in quality of taste and probiotic content. We recommend that you read the nutritional labels of yogurt products very carefully and opt for the organic, grass-fed varieties that contain “live cultures.” These products will offer the best probiotic content for your kids.
Believe it or not, this healthy vegetable contains a specific probiotic that is incredible for your gut health called Leuconostoc mesenteroides (Journal of Applied Microbiology). How does it help your child? This strain can help raise the level of antibodies in your body, which helps fight off infections. What could be better for a developing immune system?
Please note: only uncooked green peas will contain this live bacteria strain. So, try serving these kid-friendly probiotic foods to your kids as an after-school snack! Or add them to your salads!
It’s incredible how salt and water can change a cucumber. Pickled cucumbers rely on their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria to ferment. This fermentation process turns the cucumber into a pickle that doubles as a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria.
When you’re shopping for pickles though, remember to read the label! If the pickles were fermented in vinegar, then they do not contain live probiotics. So make sure the ones you choose did not use vinegar during the fermentation process.
Pickles are terrific sandwich condiments, and they make for great snacks too! Add them into your child’s sack lunch to boost their microbiome during school.
Many cheeses are packed with “friendly” bacteria, which makes them a great source of probiotics for both kids and adults. However, this high probiotic content can only occur if the cheese is either aged or is made from raw, unpasteurized milk. Whether it’s cheddar, Gouda, or Gruyere, any raw cheese will have good probiotic content. Just remember: cooking/melting the cheese will kill off the healthy bacteria.
So, rather than relying on cooked cheese, try to sprinkle in some feta crumble with the family dinner! Or pack some Swiss and crackers for your child’s mid-morning snack! Kids will always appreciate having some tasty cheese handy.
It’s definitely not the go-to drink of every kid, but kombucha never fails to be a great source of probiotics. This ancient Japanese beverage is created through a unique fermentation process. During this process, specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar are added to black or green tea. The brew then ferments for at least a week or more, which allows for a colony of “friendly” bacteria to grow.
Don’t underestimate the power of kombucha! Research has shown that the probiotics in kombucha can offer you digestive support, increased energy, liver detoxification, and many other health benefits (Journal of Medicinal Food).
The kid-friendly probiotic foods discussed here aren’t for everyone. So if your kid won’t eat any of the foods mentioned above, they might be more amenable to a kombucha beverage. You can ensure your children get their probiotics by replacing their afternoon soda with a glass of kombucha.
Are There Alternatives To Kid-Friendly Probiotic Foods?
Is your kid a picky eater? Some children may refuse to eat any of these kid-friendly probiotic foods. Thankfully, there’s an alternative. Your child can still reap the benefits of probiotics and improve their gut health with this exceptional kid-friendly probiotic supplement: GNC Milestones® Kids Chewable Probiotic For Kids 4-12.
This probiotic supplement provides a proprietary blend of highly viable, pure strains of “friendly” bacteria. The bacteria strains included in this chewable supplement have been clinically proven to support immune system function and the overall health of young kids.
Support your children with the benefits of probiotics by ordering your first bottle of GNC’s Milestones® Kids Chewable Probiotic For Kids 4-12 today!