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What are important nutrients for a healthy family?? Everywhere you turn there’s ‘healthy foods’ to eat or ‘healthy recipes’ to make. But what counts as healthy? And who decides? That’s a complex topic and a matter for another time, but today I want to share some of the nutrients I feel are most important for a growing family.
Your kids are absorbing calcium at their highest rate and building bone health NOW. Kids under 10 (and moms) need about 2 servings of high calcium foods daily. Kids over 10 and under 19 need 4 servings of high calcium foods daily! Some great calcium sources include: Broccoli, tofu, fortified soy milk, cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt, white beans, almonds – get them in!
We are still learning about all the ways Vitamin D is used in our body, but the biggest one we know of is bone health. There is a great disconnect between current recommendations for intake and the research on its importance in our bodies. Good sources of Vitamin D include: dairy or fortified dairy substitutes, mushrooms, salmon or sardines, and egg yolks
Gut health is all the rage becuse we know that a happy gut can play an integral role in overall health. In most cases I recommend prioritizing fiber from foods over supplements. Increasing the fruits and vegetable amounts we eat (gradually) can help get us closer to the 14-28 gram per day recommendations for kids. Over 4 servings of fruits/veggies gets you there.
Another nutrient that gets major billing are omega-3 fatty acids. They’re integral in skin and heart health, and brain development. It’s commonly suggested that 2 servings of fatty fish (salmon) per week can meet your needs, but most families aren’t consuming that. If you’re in that camp try sprinkling in chia and flax seeds into smoothies or on toast a few times per week.
Iron is a very important component for red blood cells that allows us to carry oxygen in our blood throughout our bodies. It’s also integral in brain development for infants and children. The amount needed varies by age. A few helpful tips- if consuming plant sources, serve with a vitamin C food. For all types try not to serve with calcium foods because calcium can decrease iron absorption
Central to brain and nervous system regulation, choline helps with memory, mood and muscle control. Choline can be found in animal products, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and soy beans, wheat germ, kidney beans, quinoa and more! Required amounts vary by age, but at least one of those foods daily is great!
If you’re wanting to learn more about nutrition for your family, be sure to join the waitlist for Blissful Meals. In this group coaching program you’ll learn everything you need to raise healthy eaters.