When given the chance to choose their own meals, many children would opt for foods such as mac & cheese and chicken nuggets, food that don’t necessarily make a complete meal with all of the vitamins and nutrients that they need. That’s why as parents we need to make sure that they are getting all of these important vitamins when choosing their daily meals.
According to KeepKidsHealthy.com, it’s important to check with your pediatrician to see if they recommend your child take an age appropriate multivitamin. An estimated 25 to 50% of children in the United States take a multivitamin, although this is generally not necessary for most children with an average diet. It is usually better to try and reach daily requirements by providing a well-balanced diet. Consuming a diet with the minimum number of servings suggested by the Food Guide Pyramid will provide most children with the recommended daily allowances of most vitamins and minerals. You can check out the Food Guide Pyramid for Kids at Mypyramid.gov.
Also try to keep these tips in mind when label reading to make sure that they are getting all that they need from their food:
Calcium: Getting enough calcium is important to everyone, especially children. That’s why children require at least 800 mg of calcium for children ages 4 to 8, and at least 1,300 mg of calcium for children 9 and older.
Iron: Many multivitamins do not contain iron, so be sure to supplement your child’s meals with iron-rich foods to be sure they get the recommended 10 mg of iron a day.
Folic Acid: Important for so many reasons, including the production of red blood cells and healthy skin, hair and gums. A typical child’s dose of folic acid is 75 to 150 mcg daily.
Vitamin C: Especially during cold and flu season, be sure to increase your child’s daily intake of Vitamin C to at least 1 gram per day.
Vitamin D: Children’s growing bones require plenty of Vitamin D; so many pediatricians recommend that children take a supplement with 800 to 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is also important for a growing child’s body, but too much Vitamin A can also be toxic, therefore many pediatricians suggest increasing your child’s beta carotene intake, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body.
While these are just some of the main vitamins that your school-aged child needs on a daily basis, be sure to check with your own pediatrician to see what vitamins and minerals they suggest specifically for your child.
Make sure that your child is eating balanced meals with the proper doses of vitamins and minerals and your child will be well on their way to a healthy lifestyle.