As the average diet of the American family continues to decline in terms of nutritional value, many parents are left wondering which nutritional elements are most important for their children. While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that there are 33 individual nutrients that kids 4 and older should consume each day, in many cases kids are not getting what they need each day. No matter how hard we try to keep our kids diets healthy, in many cases we struggle. Whether it is a busy schedule that forces you to eat on the road, or super picky eaters, it can be tough.
There are ten nutrients that stand out as the most important for American children. These are the fundamentals that parents should make sure to fill the daily suggestions each day. While it is best to fill their needs through a varied diet, in many cases a high quality supplement can help check these boxes.
Nutritional Need #1: Protein
Protein is probably the most important building block that kids consume each day. It helps their little bodies build new cells, convert the food they eat into usable energy, boost their immune system and carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Kids can meet their protein needs through foods like dairy, lean mean, yogurt, eggs and nuts. It is suggested that kids aged 4-8 should consume around 20 grams of protein. From 9-13 this jumps to around 34 grams and 46 grams for girls and 52 grams for boys 14-18 years old.
Nutritional Need #2: Carbs
While many of us are stepping lightly around our carb cravings, it is important to note that kids need carbs to develop. They play an important role in how kids bodies use fat and protein to build and maintain healthy tissue. Kids can meet their carbohydrate needs by eating anything from sugary cereal to healthy grains. To keep kids functioning at their vest best opt for more starches and fibers and less of the sugary stuff.
Nutritional Need #3: Fats
Another food category that many of us try to shy away from is a must-have for kids growing bodies. The reality is that kids need fat in their diet. This doesn’t mean to go ahead and stop for those french fries on the way home from school each day, but fat is a must. Kids can get the fat they need each day in foods like yogurt, milk, egg yolks and meat.
Nutritional Need #4: Iron
Iron is one of the most important building blocks for strong blood cells in kids growing bodies. Parents should try to get around 18mg of iron in their child’s diet each day. Common foods high in iron are liver, red meat, shellfish, nuts and beans – all foods not high on many kids list of favorites. Iron is one of the minerals that can be supplemented with a good quality multi-vitamin.
Nutritional Need #5: Fiber
Fiber is a great ingredient for kids and adults alike when it comes to digestion and bowel regulation. A consistently sufficient fiber level has also been proven to reduce certain cancers and heart disease in the future. A range of 22-25 grams is ideal for most kids.
Nutritional Need #6: Calcium
Most parents know that calcium helps in the production and protection of kids bones. Did you know that it is also important for blood clotting and for nerve, muscle, and heart function? Many kids get a fair amount of calcium through daily consumption of milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. However, with an increasing number of kids displaying intolerances and allergies to dairy, this can be tough. Whether through food or through a supplement, kids aged four and up should get no less than 1,000 milligrams.
Nutritional Need #7: Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays many an important role in both growth and development. From kid’s eyes to their skin, they need this important vitamin. Children between the ages of 4 and 8 should get between 1,000 and 3,000 IU of A each day. It is important to note that while they need this key vitamin, too much vitamin A can be dangerous for kids so be careful to stay in this range.
Nutritional Need #8: Folate
Many moms-to-be know that folate is very important during their pregnancy. But many fail to realize that folate continues to be a very important nutrient after baby is born. It is very significant in the development of healthy cells throughout the body. High folate levels are present in spinach, lentils, chickpeas and asparagus. So adventurous young eaters may be able to check this box with diet, but others may need the help of a multi-vitamin.
Nutritional Need #9: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another key vitamin that plays many different roles in your child’s growing system. It does everything from fight viruses to strengthening blood vessels. There are plenty of ways to get kids to eat foods rich in C since it is found in many kid-approved fruits. However, if your kids aren’t a big fan of citrus, most multi-vitamins include the daily-recommended value of C.
Nutritional Need #10: Vitamin E
The last nutrient to make sure your kids get on a daily basis is vitamin E. Vitamin E serves as a powerful antioxidant, which helps to protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. It is commonly believed that those free radicals could be the cause of some cancers, heart disease, and cataracts. Making sure your child gets enough vitamin E could be a big investment in their future health.
By making sure that your kid gets the recommended amount of these ten important nutrients you will help ensure good health now and in their future. While getting as many nutrients from their diet is great, in many cases it’s hard to hit every recommendation. This is where a high quality multi-vitamin with natural ingredients.
There are ten nutrients that stand out as the most important for American children.