Top 6 nutrients your children needed

I’m sure many of you as parents are concerned about whether your children are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop. You may even be at a loss when it comes to what nutrients and how much to give your child, especially if you are dealing with picky toddlers and teenagers. Here are the top 6 nutrients to look out for when giving your kids a balanced diet.


Why is it so important?

For calcium absorption, the immune system, and reducing the risk for chronic and autoimmune diseases.

Is your child getting enough of it?

Vitamin D is not very common in the diet unless foods are fortified.

The best way to get enough vitamin D is regular exposure to sunlight or taking supplements.

Best dietary sources:

Fortified dairy products, fortified cereal products, egg yolks, cheese, and fatty fish.


Why is it important?

It helps oxygenate cells, supports rapid growth, and plays an important role in brain development.

Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in young children can lead to a weak immune system and cognitive problems many years later.

Is your child getting enough iron?

Your child may not be getting enough iron if:

if he or she is a typical picky eater who avoids meat, fish and beans

he or she is a vegan or vegetarian

Best sources of iron:

Liver, red meat, egg yolks, chicken, iron-fortified cereals, sesame seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables.

Include these iron-rich foods in your child’s diet twice a day.

To help your child absorb more iron, combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.


Why are they so important?

There are 3 important omega-3 fatty acids. Two of them, EPA and DHA, are especially important in early childhood for various brain, cardiovascular, and immune system functions.

Did you know that about 50% of the brain is made up of fat and most of that is omega-3 fatty acids?

The third important omega-3 fatty acid is plant-based ALA.

It can be converted to EPA and DHA, but not efficiently or sufficiently.

So if your child is vegan or vegetarian, he or she may need a supplement to meet his or her omega-3 fatty acid needs and support growth and development.

Is your child getting enough?

If he’s not eating enough fish or eating a vegan diet, he’s most likely not meeting his omega-3 needs! This is because ALA (plant-based omega-3) is not absorbed as well as DHA or EPA (omega-3 from fish).

Best sources:

DHA and EPA are found in fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, fortified eggs, fortified milk and breast milk. ALA comes from plant foods such as nuts and seeds and their oils.

Offer your child up to two servings of fish per week.


Why are they so important?

Fiber prevents constipation and is an excellent source of prebiotics – the perfect food for probiotic bacteria that are good for the gut. Fiber can also reduce the risk of many health conditions such as inflammatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Is your child getting enough of it?

Most likely, no. Most children (and adults) in developed countries get barely half the minimum recommended amount of fiber.

Toddlers, teens, and picky kids of all ages are more likely to not meet their fiber needs because they are not eating enough whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods.

IMPORTANT: Too much fiber may not be good either, especially for infants younger than 2 years. Because fiber speeds the movement of food through the digestive tract, it can interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

Best sources:

Beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, berries, bran cereals.

Offer your child a high-fiber food with every meal and snack.


Why is it so important?

Protein is critical for growth, development and immunity. It is the basic building block of our bodies, from which enzymes, antibodies and hormones are made.

Is your child getting enough of it?

Most children get enough protein. However, if your child is a picky eater, avoids dairy and meat, or is vegetarian or vegan, he or she may be at risk.

The best sources of protein:

Meat, fish, poultry, cheese, yogurt, milk, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils and grains.

Try to include a good source of protein in every meal and snack your child eats.

IMPORTANT: Plant-based milks are low in protein. So make sure your child is eating enough protein from other sources.


Why is it important?

For optimal growth and development of bones, to prevent tooth decay, and for proper function of nerves, muscles, and heart.

It is very important that children consume enough calcium at a young age to ensure optimal calcium storage in the bones and prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Is your child getting enough?

If your child is a typical milk and cheese lover, he or she is most likely getting enough calcium. Make sure your child eats 2-3 servings of calcium-rich foods daily.

One cup of milk or 30 grams of cheese equals 1 serving of calcium-rich sources.

However, if your child avoids dairy products, you will need to be more careful when planning their meals to ensure their calcium needs are met.

Another at-risk group is teenagers, whose calcium needs are higher than younger children.

Best sources:

Milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified vegetable beverages (300 mg/cup), fortified orange juice (270 mg/cup), fortified cereals, tofu with calcium sulfate, canned sardines and salmon (with bones), tahini, beans, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, kohlrabi, and bok choy.

Final comment:

A balanced diet is important for children, but it is unrealistic to expect them to eat a perfect meal every time.

If you are wondering if your child is eating enough nutrients, be sure to serve nutrient-dense meals and write down everything your child eats for a week or two. In most cases, you will find that he or she is eating enough nutrient-dense foods.

If your child is very picky, skipping whole food groups, or eating a vegan diet, you should talk to a nutritionist like me to make sure they are eating enough nutrients.

Before giving your child any supplements, it is best to discuss this with your doctor.

for more info Neurology hospital in Dubai

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