Figs probably aren’t the type of fruit you feed your kids every day. In fact, when you think about figs, you probably think fig Newtons—the cookies you used to enjoy as a kid and maybe feed your kids now. Although those cookies are delicious, they aren’t the healthiest treat to eat.
Yet real figs—fresh or dried—are, plus they’re tasty, sweet and have a chewy and slightly crunchy texture at the same time.
While apples, pears and pumpkin get all the attention this time of year, consider serving up figs at your kids’ next meal. Here’s why.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 out of 10 kids don’t eat enough vegetables and 6 in 10 don’t eat enough fruit—two of the best sources of fiber. Since fiber slows digestion, it keeps your kids feeling fuller longer and may prevent weight gain and obesity.
Adding figs to your kid’s diet can be a great way to add more fiber. A half-cup of raw figs contains nearly 3 grams of fiber while the same portion of dried figs has more than 9 grams.
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Both raw and dried figs are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, yet dried figs have higher levels. For starters, figs contain calcium for strong teeth and bones and potassium which supports your child’s growth and the function of nerve cells in the body and the brain. Potassium also lowers blood pressure, which can help the 2 to 5 percent of kids who have hypertension but often go undiagnosed. Figs also contain other important key nutrients like magnesium and vitamin K.
Prevents colds and infections
With cold and flu season upon us, feeding your kids figs may prevent them from getting sick. In fact, a 2015 study conducted with grass carp suggests figs may have an immune boosting benefit.
Treats common ailments
The fruit itself as well as extracts and components of figs have been used to treat more than 40 types of ailments of the digestive, endocrine, reproductive and respiratory systems in the body as well as gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infections. Although serious health conditions aren’t a problem for most healthy kids, the research speaks to the healing properties of figs and may give your kids an edge.
If your kids aren’t eating enough fiber, there’s a good change they are frequently constipated. Because of their high-fiber content, figs are among the many foods that prevent constipation. In fact, participants who consumed a paste made from figs saw a significant improvement in constipation, according to a 2016 study.
How To Eat Figs
There are so many ways to incorporate figs into just about any meal. Here are a few to try:
- Swap your regular fruit for figs in lunch boxes or as an after-school snack.
- Chop figs and add them to oatmeal, salads or plain, Greek yogurt.
- Roast figs for a side dish or an after-dinner dessert.
- Slice bread and make a crostini with a bit of goat cheese, figs and a drizzle of honey.