How to Get Your Growing Child the Nutrients He Needs

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Photo courtesy of Melissa via Flickr

Being a parent comes with countless joys but plenty of stress as well. Way before birth, parents are charged with the task of assuring their child receives adequate nutrition to survive, thrive, and grow. Even with concerned parents, many children are still nutrient deficient, and the signs are not always obvious. With our busy schedules and picky eaters, ensuring that children are getting the proper nutrition is not always easy. But there are some things that can be done to help. So, what are the best ways to ensure your growing child is getting the necessary nutrients he needs? Here are few easy tips, that even busy parents can handle:

1. Consider a Good Vitamin

Providing a quality multivitamin is a good idea for any child; choosing the best one can be difficult. Obviously, you want one that tastes good enough that your child will eat it. Whole food based vitamins are easier to digest, since the body absorbs more and expels less. If your child has concerning vitamin deficiencies, you can also look into children supplements from places like Nature’s Energy. Be sure to consult your pediatrician before implementing any vitamins or dietary supplements into your child’s diet.

2. Be Creative

Some children seem to be willing to eat anything from a very young age and never go through a picky phase. Then there are kids that, if given the option, would live off hot dogs and boxed macaroni and cheese, balking at the idea of eating anything green. Often a little creativity is needed to get kids the important nutrients. Try blending up some healthy smoothies at home. You can easily turn a basic fruit smoothie into an even more nutrient dense snack by adding some plain yogurt, a couple of almonds or flax seeds, and a few leaves of kale or spinach. Your child will not likely even notice, and he will be getting tons of good nutrients. Get more inspiration about How to Make Vegetable Smoothies Your Kids Will Love!

During the summertime, you can even freeze the smoothies as sorbet in popsicle molds. Also consider making vegetable purees when preparing food if your child is opposed to eating vegetables as whole. Mixing spinach puree into spaghetti sauce or cauliflower to mashed potatoes can add a great deal of nutrition without noticeably altering the taste. Check out some other ideas for creative healthy meals for kids.

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3. Eliminate Processed Food

Encourage healthy snacks on a regular basis; and avoid any prepackaged salty and sugary snacks. These foods contain very few nutrients and plenty of artificial flavors and colors. The only “benefit” of processed foods is their convenience, but that doesn’t count for a healthy diet. Try to keep fresh whole foods (such as fresh or dry fruits, unsalted nuts, organic granola bars) on hand for easy snacks and avoid reaching for the easy and less healthy options. It may be helpful to prepackage some healthy snacks during the weekend for a quick access during the week. For example, wash some grapes, cut up some cheese and add them in Ziploc bags or small snack containers so they are ready to grab and go.

4. Eliminate Sugary Drinks

Sugar filled drinks such as soda or fruit punch simply fill up kid’s stomachs with nutrient empty liquid. There is no benefit to sugary drinks for anyone, let alone children. Instead, offer your kids plain water as their main drink option. You can squeeze some lemon or lime in it to add a little flavor and vitamins. Also milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and 100% natural fruit juices (sparingly) are all much more healthy and nutrient-dense options.

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In a hectic and busy life, feeding your child a well-balanced diet can be difficult to manage. It is, however, vastly important. Try to introduce a variety of healthy foods early in life to establish healthy habits, and do your best to set a good example as a parent. When your child is getting the necessary nutrients he needs, not only his overall health and immunity improves, but also his mood and  quality of life.

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