Getting children to eat a balanced diet can be challenging at times and ensuring they are getting with all the nutrients they need can sometimes feel impossible. So which nutrients should you be focusing on getting into them on a daily basis to ensure they stay healthy and strong?
Variety and balance is key with children so building their meals around a rainbow of vegetables, a source of protein and healthy fats is a great start. Low sugar fruit and plant-based foods like pulses, quinoa and brown rice provide nutrient dense sources of carbohydrates to fuel them with slow release energy.
Here are six key nutrients to ensure your little ones are getting enough of, and how to give them a boost…
A key nutrient for kids and adults alike, iron helps us to produce red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. It helps children grow and prevents anaemia which can be debilitating for children with their busy lives. Organic red meat, leafy greens, tuna, beans and eggs are all good sources.
Magnesium is required for the functioning of over 300 enzymes in the human body, contributing to muscle health, strong bones and even aiding restful sleep. You can make sure your child’s diet is rich in magnesium with almonds, hazelnuts, spinach and broccoli.
Top tip: Magnesium is absorbed well through the skin, so consider including Magnesium Sleep Lotion Junior in their post-bath routine. Not only will it boost their supply of the nutrient, but combined with the lavender and chamomile will soothe them ready for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Calcium gets a lot of press when it comes to growing children and with good reason, its key to building strong bones and teeth. We are often encouraged to eat dairy products for calcium but there are plenty of good non-dairy sources of calcium too. Broccoli, sesame seeds (and their paste, known as tahini) spinach, chia seeds and dried figs all provide calcium.
Vitamin D has now overtaken Vitamin C as the country’s most popular supplement, largely because it’s so hard to get enough of it through our diet alone. Vitamin D is important for helping build strong, healthy bones and supporting immune system function.
The government now recommends that we all supplement vitamin D during autumn and winter months, while under 5’s are recommended to take a supplement all year round to ensure levels.
In the past, fat was seen to be the baddy when it comes to diet, but good fats are essential for health. The human brain is made of nearly 60% fat so getting enough healthy sources of fats into your child’s diet is particularly important for their brain and nerve development. It also ensures our bodies’ ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins A,D, E and K. Fatty fish, nuts, seeds and avocados are all great sources.
Children need plenty of Vitamin C to support a strong immune system. It is also vital to help their bodies to absorb iron. The good news is that kids tend to love the dietary sources of this vitamin, which include fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, oranges, broccoli and peppers.