Kids grow very quickly and their bodies need more nutrients for their weight than adults do.
We all aim to give our kids a balanced diet, rich in nutrients and limit their intake of junk food – but often that’s not easy, particularly when you have fussy eaters in the family!
Sadly, despite their importance, intakes of key nutrients amongst 4-18 year olds have been in significant decline over the last 2 decades*, with busy lifestyles, a reliance on ready meals, grabbing food on-the- go and the rise in popularity of meat-free diets (reduced red meat consumption) all potentially having an impact.
*Source NDNS Survey
Kids are exposed to a lot of bacteria and viruses in the playground and at school. Their immune systems are not fully developed and often need extra support. Topping up with a multi-vitamin that contains key nutrients such as vitamin C, is important as it is needed to help support their immune system.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver.
When children don’t eat enough dairy, eggs or oily fish they run the risk of having low intakes of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A also helps to maintain healthy skin and vision as well as a healthy immune system.
Vitamins B6 & B12
These are water soluble vitamins and a constant supply from the diets is required as kids’ bodies don’t keep long term stores.
They contribute to the release of energy from food and are important for the production of red blood cells. They also help maintain a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D is probably the most talked about vitamin, needed for the normal growth of teeth and bones and immune systems.
Government advice is children 4 and under should take 10mcg every day. 5 and above are advised to take 10mcg during the autumn and winter months only.
Other Important Nutrients
Vitamin E is also a good nutrient as it helps to protect against oxidative stress in the body. To keep our kids; brands sharp nutrients such as Omega 3 DHA fatty acids are also important as they are needed to support brain and visual development.
Whilst never a substitute for a balanced diet; a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can be a good insurance policy for your kids’ health.
Encourage your kids to consistently drink small glasses of water through the day (up to 1 ½ litres is best.)
Many fizzy, sweet caffeine laden energy drinks aren’t great for little ones as they cause dehydration.
Kids all need support to learn how to look after themselves. Mealtimes can be a great opportunity to sit down with your kids and chat about the food they eat, who knows they might end up teaching you a thing or two!