Most dietitians are nerds. We are a quirky bunch to be sure. In addition to having a favorite power snack, favorite fruit and vegetable, many of us have a favorite nutrient. This is an essential nutrient we champion and emphasize with our patients. Maybe it’s because our patients are often deficient, or they have a condition which makes adequate supply of the utmost importance to their well-being.
I confess, I have a special place in my heart for more than one… I so deeply believe in the importance of a balanced diet, beyond calories and down to the tiniest elements, because each piece places a vital role in our overall health. Working in pediatrics I am often encouraging families to incorporate nutrient-dense foods into their child’s repertoire.
But why zinc?
Zinc helps keep your immune system strong, it helps wounds heal, gives important building blocks for bone and muscle development, and more. Zinc is also found in our intestines and when kiddos or adults have frequent diarrhea they can lose large amounts of zinc.
Excellent food sources of zinc include animal proteins like meat, poultry and fish. But maybe your little ones aren’t big on animal proteins… there are other options – nuts & nut butters, whole grains, Greek yogurt, beans, and spinach
One way I like to ensure my little one gets consistent zinc intake is through smoothies. I’ll whip up a nice mix of fruits and vegetables along with whole milk Greek yogurt, a bit of peanut butter and a maybe a few black beans for good measure. Smoothies not a big hit in your house? Give this recipe a try for a creamy dip that can be served with apples or crackers or whatever appeals to your family