Let’s face it, getting kids to eat healthily can be a grind sometimes. Every parent in the world is familiar with the daily battle to get healthy foods and nutrients into their kids at meals and snack time. Perhaps you have a toddler who won’t touch protein or a school-age child who balks at the sight of something green. As parents, we want to provide our children with the nutritional support they need to reach their full potential, and we’re convinced cheese crackers aren’t the best way to go about… probably.
Before you freak out about your kiddos’ diet, rest assured that as long as your child is developing normally and hitting their milestones, it’s okay that they don’t eat fish and broccoli. Expanding their palate will happen as they get older and, in the meantime, do your best to cook fresh foods and keep introducing new ingredients. When it comes to kids vitamins, most healthcare professionals agree that in an ideal world, the best way to get nutrients in from a diet of fresh foods.
Don’t worry, we live in the real world too, and we have a few ideas to help you sneak in those nutrients without your picky eaters catching in.
Stick to the Basics
Calcium – Calcium is easy to come by, generally found in dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, and tofu.
Vitamin D – Calcium isn’t absorbed as well without vitamin D, so check labels to see if your dairy products are fortified, and encourage your kids to play outside!
Iron – Be sure your kids are getting enough iron, which is generally found beef, turkey, spinach, and beans.
B-Vitamins – This family of vitamins (including B12, B2, B3, and B6) will help boost your child’s metabolism and stabilize energy. Good sources include meats, nuts, eggs, milk, eggs, and cheese.
Vitamin A – Baby carrots, sweet potatoes, and squashes are a great source of vitamin A, which promotes healthy development, vision, and a strong immune response.
Vitamin C – To promote healthy skin, muscles, and connective tissue, ensure your child is getting enough vitamin C. This one is an easier sell as its found in sweet citrus fruits, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Buddy Up with Your Blender
One tried and true way to sneak the “yucky foods” into your kids diet is by blending it up. It’s easy to boost the nutrition in an afternoon smoothie by tossing in some vitamin-dense spinach or antioxidant-rich turmeric root powder. If you’re making soup and have kids that freak out at the sight of carrots and onions, grab your immersion blender and puree the veggies after sautéing. This way they get the smooth broth they want along with all the veggies you’re hoping to get in them.
Teach your kids what a fresh tomato truly tastes like by visiting the produce stands, farmers markets, and u-picks in your area. Kids are more likely to consider a food they understand, so take them blueberry picking and introduce them to the guy that grows the green beans. You may be surprised what a difference it makes.
Kids in the Kitchen
Kids are more excited to eat something they had a hand in preparing. We know it’s easier to cook without junior chefs, but the cooking lessons and food curiosity are well worth the splattered cabinets. Start by providing your kids with fun aprons and even kid-safe knives to encourage them to join you in food prep and learn more about the food that sustains them.
Kids Vitamins and Supplements
If you just can’t seem to get the fresh stuff into those tiny bellies, supplementing with kids vitamins can be a helpful backup to whole-food nutrition. To ensure you select the right kids vitamins to support the needs of your unique children, check with your health care team for recommendations.
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