Monday, February 14, 2011

Top 3 Nutrients for Kids

Excellent child nutrition is important to learning capacity, behaviour, growth and development. Here are three key nutrients to make sure kids are consuming daily:

FABULOUS FAT - It's true, kids need fats and oils in even higher proportions than adults. Think eggs, raw olive oil, avocados, organic butter, organic full-fat dairy products, coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds. Fats and oils support the health and development of the brain, skin, cell membranes, and are required to enable kids to absorb their much-needed vitamins A, D, E and K. These foods also help kids feeling satisfied between meals, giving them extra fuel for learning and physical activity, and less chance for sugar cravings. Having a some healthy fat and protein (see below) in a bedtime snack can help prevent kids from waking during the night due to low blood sugar levels.

REMARKABLE RETINOL - Known more commonly as vitamin A, this fat-soluble nutrient is required for good vision and healthy skin. The immune system also requires vitamin A to support anti-infection and barrier functions of the mucus membranes such as the inner surfaces of the mouth, throat, nostrils and lungs. Vitamin A also supports the production of white blood cells, the body's anti-infection cells. Bone growth also requires adequate levels of vitamin A.  Egg yolks and liver from free-range animals are healthy sources of vitamin A. Kids won't eat liver? Try chopping finely and cooking into soups, stews or gravies.

PERFECT PROTEIN - Providing the building blocks of muscles, bones, hair, nails and even teeth, protein is an essential nutrient that many kids, especially more finicky eaters, don't get enough of, especially when sugars and other carbohydrates take up a higher proportion of their food intake. Most children over 1 year tolerate poultry, meat, egg, soy, nuts, seeds, cow's milk and/or goat or sheep milk proteins. Offering protein choices at all meals and snacks helps to keep kids' blood sugar balanced, supporting their ability to learn, focus and behave well at school. Kids also need protein to support growth. In addition to animal products, complete proteins are also available from combinations of legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 

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