Nutrient Needs For Kids
Kids nutrient needs depend on age, sex, size, growth, and activity level.
According to health experts, children ages 28 require 1,0001,400 calories each day. Kids ages 913 need 1,4002,600 calories daily, depending on certain factors such as activity level .
In addition to including enough calories, a childs diet should meet the following Dietary Reference Intakes (
|600 IU||600 IU|
While the above nutrients are some of the most commonly discussed, they arent the only ones kids need.
Children need some amount of every vitamin and mineral for proper growth and health, but the exact amounts vary by age. Older children and teens need different amounts of nutrients than younger kids to support optimal health.
Did You Know You Should Give Under
Children between the age of six months and five years should take vitamin A, C and D supplements, government advice says – do you find this surprising?
If you do, it seems you’re not alone.
Researchers in Wales found only 30% of parents and carers said they had ever been given advice by a health professional about giving young children vitamin supplements.
And nearly two-thirds of those asked said they didn’t give their children vitamin supplements.
The Department for Health recommends all children aged six months to five years should be given supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day.
This advice has been in existence since the early 1990s, when it was endorsed by the then committee on medical aspects of food policy.
The DoH also says breastfed babies should be given a daily vitamin D supplement from birth.
How Can I Make Sure My Child Is Getting Enough Vitamin D
Your childs age matters when it comes to cows milk. For children older than 12 months, plain whole cows milk is a great source of vitamin D.
Most cows milk sold in stores is fortified with vitamin D. For babies younger than 12 months, cows milk is not recommended because it may put your baby at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your babys kidneys to handle easily and does not have the right amount of nutrients your baby needs.
For babies who are fed onlybreast milk or who receive both breast milk and infant formula:
- Breast milk usually does not provide all the vitamin D a baby needs, so breastfed babies will need a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D per day beginning shortly after birth.
For babies who are receiving onlyinfant formula:
- Vitamin D supplementation is not needed.
- Infant formulas are fortified with vitamin D.
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What Are Safe Natural Cold Remedies For Kids
If you are looking for safe and effective ways to treat your child’s cold symptoms, you can use some long-trusted home remedies. The best natural remedies for cough and cold in kids include:
- Breathing in warm water vapors from a warm shower to loosen mucus
- Cold items like a popsicle to soothe a sore throat
- Giving a teaspoon of honey to calm a cough in children over age 1
- Humidifier use
- Nasal saline spray to loosen congestion
- Suction for kids who cannot blow their noses
- Warm liquids to soothe sore throats
Dr. Lee recommends sticking to these tried-and-true methods rather than trying unregulated products.
Vitamin Deficiencies In Babies: Symptoms And What To Watch Out For
Of course, its always important to keep an eye out for any deficiencies, especially if your little one is a picky eater or has any feeding difficulties or digestion issues. If youre concerned, track your babys diet and contact your pediatrician so the doc knows what to look out for and diagnose.
Heres a rundown of common vitamin deficiency symptoms:
- Frequent illness
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Should I Start Giving My Child Vitamins
If you have a toddler who has a meltdown at the thought of eating more than two bites of something green, you know that getting children to eat a well-balanced diet isnt easy. Whether to start giving their child vitamins is a question many parents have, as well as at what age they should start. However, for most healthy children, vitamins are unnecessary.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children receiving a normal, well-rounded diet do not need vitamin supplements at all. Still, it can be difficult to know how many vitamins your child is getting each week. A toddlers plate after dinner is finished may look like a crime scene. Did they actually consume any of that broccoli, or did it just get pushed around? When in doubt, its important to talk with your pediatrician about supplementation.
Plan Wisely For Your Baby
You want your baby to get the nutrition they need to grow up strong and healthy. Today, most women breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is important and gives your baby just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Breastfeeding provides antibodies and other immune factors. These help protect against infections and disease.
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What Should I Look For In A Multivitamin
Generally, most multivitamins contain low-doses of vitamins A, B vitamins, C, D, E as well as various minerals. Sometimes calcium and iron will be added to a multivitamin.
Try your best to avoid any artificial colours and dyes that come in a multivitamin or supplement. Be aware that again, there are a lot of multivitamins that are very much like candy and full of sugar.
Type Of Supplement To Give
Liquid drops of a vitamin D-only supplement are usually best for children aged 1 to 4 years old. A liquid supplement is also safe.
Give them 5 microgram every day during winter.
Do not give your child chewable or tablet-type supplements. These could be a choking risk.
Ask your pharmacist if you need advice on choosing a supplement.
Vitamin D supplements for children are not covered by the medical card or other drug payment schemes.
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What Are Good Sources Of Vitamin A
There are two main dietary sources animal and plant.
The most concentrated sources of preformed vitamin A come from animal livers, but, as I note below, liver may actually be too rich in vitamin A. People should consume it in small amounts.
Other, more moderate animal sources of preformed vitamin A include oily fish, like salmon, and dairy products made from milk fat, like butter and ghee.
Plant sources of vitamin A include the beta carotene vegetables mentioned above carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, papaya, and cantaloupe. Beta carotene is also found in dark, green, leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale.
What about vitamin A supplements?
Commercially-prepared vitamin A supplements usually consist of retinyl palmitate preformed vitamin A. Some supplements contain beta carotene.
And some foods are artifically fortified with preformed vitamin A. These may include milk products, cooking oils, and cereals.
Vitamin D And Calcium
Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that helps children develop strong bones and protects adults from developing osteoporosis . That makes it important for kids to take a vitamin D supplement with 400 IU of vitamin D if they don’t get enough foods in their diet that are fortified with vitamin D.
Most children don’t need higher doses of vitamin D though, and the AAP recommends that those who do should have their vitamin D status checked .
- Flintstones Gummies Plus Bone Building Support
- L’il Critters Calcium Gummy Bears with Vitamin D
- L’il Critters Vitamin D Gummy Bears
- NBA All-Star Vitamin D Gummies
- Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears with Vitamin D
In addition to, or instead of, more traditional multivitamins, or supplements with just vitamin D or calcium, some parents venture beyond multivitamins and give their kids other supplements, including fish oil supplements, extra vitamin C, fiber, or antioxidants.
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Whats The Best Way To Prevent Sick Kids
Toddlers put their hands in their mouths a lot. They touch their faces all day long. They are in contact with toys that other kids have had near their faces regularly. Which means that hand washingand a lot of itis essential.
Hand washing is likely the single best thing you can do to keep your kids healthy.
Dealing With Picky Eaters
Picky eating can also be a reason parents choose supplements.
One study in 937 kids ages three to seven found that picky eating was strongly associated with low intakes of iron and zinc, Streit continued. Still, the results indicated that blood levels of these minerals were not significantly different in picky compared to non-picky eaters.
And even if you have a picky eater and add supplements to the mix, Nielsen cautioned that this does not mean the child now has a healthy diet.
Supplements can not completely make up for a poor diet. Instead, supplements can help prevent nutrient deficiencies that might arise from poor diet, she continued. The ideal would always be to improve the nutrient density of a childs diet, perhaps using supplements as a bridge.
Some nutrients and vitamins are more important during the growing process like calcium in vitamin D.
Children who dont get enough vitamin D may not grow as much as others their age. They also have a chance of getting a rare disease called rickets, which causes weak bones, HealthLink B.C. added.
Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of supplements are right for your child. Although breastfed babies get the best possible nutrition, they do need vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D for babies is usually a liquid supplement that you add to a bottle of breast milk with a dropper or drip into your babys mouth, the site added.
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Are Gummy Vitamins Good For Toddlers
The main issue with gummy vitamins for kids is that they look like candy and your child may not understand that they are not meant to be eaten like candy. So you MUST keep them out of reach, even if they have a child-proof top on them. For toddlers over 2, they are usually easy enough to chew.
TIP: If you are at all worried about giving a gummy vitamin, you can try a powder or a liquid added to a drink, smoothie or yogurt. Or the soft-melts from Childlife Essentials.
Minerals And How To Get Them
Heres a list of the minerals you and your family need and how to get them.
Calcium You get calcium from dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, fish with edible bones, like sardines and salmon, tofu and some green leafy vegetables, like kale and bok choy. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth.
Iodine You get iodine from seafood, vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil, iodised salt and bread made with iodised salt. Most bakery and supermarket bread is made with iodised salt, which will give most people enough iodine. Iodine is essential for normal growth and tissue development, and helps control the ways your cells make energy and use oxygen. Pregnant women need higher levels of iodine.
Iron You get iron from meat, liver, chicken, seafood, dried beans, egg yolks and fortified breakfast cereal. Iron is especially important for brain function and red blood cell production, and it also helps carry oxygen around the body.
Zinc You get zinc from meat, chicken, seafood, milk, seeds, tofu and wholegrain cereals. Zinc helps with growth, wound healing and immune system function.
Other essential minerals include phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and chromium.
Fruit and vegetables are vital sources of vitamins and minerals. You might like to read about encouraging your child to eat vegetables or see our illustrated guide to child-friendly fruit and vegies.
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May Improve Adhd Symptoms
Omega-3s alter cellular membranes in the central nervous system and may help with brain processes in people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder .
In a 2018 review , international experts advised that omega-3 supplements may produce small but significant reductions in ADHD symptoms while having a tolerable safety profile.
While the review also suggested additional benefits of omega-3s, including improved sleep quality and cognitive function, scientists need to do more research to confirm those.
According to the , however, results for omega-3s benefitting ADHD are conflicting, although EPA and DHA may improve parent-rated oppositional behavior.
Other Sleep Tips For Parents
While melatonin can be a helpful tool for getting your kids the sleep they need, there are other ways that parents can try to encourage healthy sleep habits.
- Older children and teens should avoid naps during the day.
- Set regular bedtimes and wake-up times to help regulate your child’s body clock.
- Avoid screen time at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from tablets or monitors can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Have dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime and avoid food and drinks with caffeine.
- Make sure bedrooms are quiet and dark.
- Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Bedrooms shouldn’t be kept too warm.
- Have a soothing bedtime routine to help children wind down before sleep.
If your child has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, call your pediatrician for advice and ask if melatonin supplements might help.
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Should I Give My Toddler A Multivitamin
Note: The recommendations outlined in this blog post are for informational purposes only. They are not prescriptive, nor are they individualized. Always consult your doctor and/or dietitian for specific advice before taking any vitamin or mineral supplement.
Many of us parents worry endlessly about how well our toddler is eating. And its concerning when youre not sure if theyre getting the proper and essential nutrients they need to achieve good health. But do they really need to be taking a multivitamin to close the nutrition gaps?
Heres the Coles notes version of my answer: Research tells us that for healthy toddlers, a nutritious and well balanced diet is the best way to be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. Whole foods offer more, and better absorbed, nutrients than multivitamin supplements can offer.
So generally speaking, if your toddler is healthy , eats a decent variety of foods, is active and sees a doctor regularly, they should not need a multivitamin. Keep in mind that a varied, healthy diet for your toddler means: 2 servings of meat and alternatives, 4 servings of grains/starches, 2 servings of milk and dairy products, and at least 4 servings of fruit and veggies daily .
If youre not sure what a serving is, whats covered under each category, and how to serve meals and snacks to cover your bases, check out my Feeding Toddlers online course for lots of help!
How To Choose A Toddler Vitamin
Its important to know that supplements, including toddler vitamins, arent approved by the FDA, so you really need to trust the brand you buy because no other organization is going to vet them for you.
When looking at options, look for:
- The RDA. Many vitamins have upwards of 500% of the recommended daily allowance of certain vitamins and minerals and frankly, that can just be dangerous or it wont all be absorbed by the boy. I look for percentages closer to 100% or less
- The serving size. Be sure to read the serving size thoroughly since they vary widely. It might be one vitamin or two or even 6. If you arent sure of the right dose, you can always bring it to your pediatrician for help.
- Look at the brand. Look for a brand that is transparent about ingredient, shares information when products are recalled , and has a customer service line thats accessible.
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How Sources Of Preformed Vitamin A Can Add Up
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 6,582 RAE µg of preformed vitamin A more than twice the maximum recommended daily intake for children under the age of 8.
Clearly, young children should eat liver very sparingly, if at all. But even if you avoid liver, there are other sources of preformed vitamin A, and they can add up.
For example, take a look at these dairy products:
- Ice cream, French vanilla. One cup has 278 RAE µg .
- Milk, 2% fat, fortified with A. One cup has 139 RAE µg .
- Butter. One tablespoon has over 95 RAE µg .
- Cheddar cheese. One ounce has about 84 RAE µg .
- A boiled egg has approximately 78 RAE µg .
- Whole milk yogurt. Eight ounces has 67 RAE µg .
- Cottage cheese, 2% fat. One cup has 50 RAE µg .
And the amount of preformed vitamin A in oily fish:
- Pickled Herring. Three ounces has 219 RAE µg
- Mackerel. Three ounces has about 65 RAE µg
- Salmon, sockeye. Three ounces has 59 RAE µg
Next, consider how much preformed vitamin A has been added to certain processed foods, like breakfast cereal and frozen waffles. According to the National Institutes of Health, a cup of fortified cereal might contain as much as 130-150 RAE µg of preformed vitamin A.
So its easy to see how a child could get too much preformed vitamin A by consuming a combination of animal products, vitamin-fortified processed foods, and multivitamins.
Proprietary Vitamin Supplements Available For Babies
Table 6, lists the contents of some commonly used multivitamin supplements currently available for prescription in the UK. The Department of Health Children’s Vitamin Drops are currently unavailable but previous contents of these drops and those being provided for Healthy Start are included in table 5. Vitamin A in Abidec is carried in highly refined peanut oil, necessary, according to the manufacturers, to enable it to be incorporated into a waterbased solution. The oil is protein free, and not considered to be allergenic. The vitamin A content of Dalivit is three times that of Abidec and close to the tolerable upper intake limit of 800g for term infants when given at the recommended dose of 0.3ml/day.
Table 6Multivitamin supplements in UK: vitamin content of recommended daily dose for infants aged < 1year
|Vitamins||Children’s Vitamin Drops*||Children’s Vitamin DropsHealthy Start|
Abidec 0.6ml/day recommended for preterm infants.
*Children’s Vitamin Drops formulation until approximately 2000 in A neonatal vade mecum.
Children’s Vitamin Drops formulation for Healthy Start personal communication, Department of Health, 2006.
In peanut oil.
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