Keeping Kids Healthy at Home and School + Quick Recipes

Times are incredibly uncertain right now. Parents aren’t sure whether school will open in the fall or not. Some parents have chosen to home school their children. When schools do reopen, what will that look like? And what challenges will parents who are still working remotely face? All of these changes affect many aspects of our life, including family meal choices and preparation.
 

Children and teens typically fall short on getting many of the most important nutrients for a variety of reasons. With the nation starting to open back up and more parents heading back to work, families may begin to struggle keeping up with healthy, homemade meals. Parents and older children may lean on drive-thru and fast-food delivery options.
 

Supplementation can help fill nutritional gaps, so we can help our kids maintain strong bones, a robust immune system, and a healthy brain. Some of these can even be added to meals, snacks, or smoothies – as an easier way for kids to incorporate them into their daily routine.
 

First, children need to start with a high-quality multivitamin/mineral. A multi can cover us when stressors are high and where our diet lacks to support healthy growth and development. A few other nutrients are also important for our kids. 
 

Calcium is necessary for helping to maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth formation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ages 4 to 8 get 1,000 mg of calcium daily. These requirements increase in children ages 9 through 18 to 1,300 mg. Some of the best food sources for calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, tofu, canned salmon, and various greens; however, many children don’t reach the recommended daily dosage through diet alone, so a well-absorbed and tasty chewable calcium tablet is a great option for children to take along with their lunch or dinner.
 

Parents may not realize that to optimize their children’s long-term bone and cardiovascular system health, they should include vitamin D3 along with calcium into their child’s daily routine. Vitamin D3 is important for calcium transport and absorption. It promotes healthy growth and development; supports teeth, bone, and muscle health; assists with a healthy immune and cardiovascular systems; and aids in a healthy mood.
 

The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) latest recommendation for children over 1 year old is 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. The Vitamin D Council, Endocrinology Society and many physicians feel the IOM's recommendation is too low. Testing children’s vitamin D3 levels gives a baseline to see how much they may need to take. Supplemental D3 can be found in many forms such as unflavored drops that can be put right on food or into liquids. Delicious fruit flavored D3 gummies are another option. It’s best to have kids take it when they are taking their calcium supplement.
 

Iron is an essential mineral and an important component of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Iron supplements are best taken on an empty stomach for maximum absorption first thing in the morning with a few ounces of vitamin c-rich fresh juice. Note that the calcium in dairy can interfere with its absorption, while vitamin C and vitamin C-rich foods can enhance it. A flavorsome kid's chewable iron is a convenient way to get the iron they need to help support optimal wellness, blood health, energy utilization, and immune function.
 

We know it’s important to keep children’s immune systems functioning optimally all year long, and it’s especially crucial starting in the fall and throughout the school year, when they are exposed to more and have more contact with individuals in confined spaces. Although schooling may look different in the fall, kid’s still need extra protection. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system and enhances iron absorption. Delicious chewable vitamin C tablets and gummies are available for kids, and it should be in a form that is gentle on their teeth and stomach. As mentioned, taking vitamin C in the morning with iron is best for iron absorption.
 

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that line our digestive tract and support our body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Research is continuing to show the benefits of probiotics in other areas beyond bowel health such as mouth and dental health, mental well-being, immunity, and much more. Probiotics are available in convenient kid-friendly delicious stix. Children can simply let these melt in their mouth or add them to a favorite yogurt or smoothie for breakfast or as a snack. Be sure to check out the delectable and fun summer float recipe below: Sparkling Sorbet Floats (adding Carlson Kid’s Probiotic Stix).
 

Last, but certainly not least, omega-3 fish oils are very important for children’s brain development and learning. Adding a high-quality fish oil to a child’s daily routine is a great way to ensure they’re getting enough of their daily requirements of omega-3s, and the necessary DHA for brain development. Like fish oil, cod liver oil provides the important omega-3 fatty acids, but with the added benefit of vitamins A and D3. Vitamins A and D, and omega-3s support healthy immune function.
 

Fish and cod liver oils can be found in flavored chewable soft gels and tasty liquids. A great way for our children to get their daily dose of omega-3s is by drizzling it into or over some of their favorite foods, like popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, pizza, hummus, yogurt, or smoothies. Below are a few summertime recipes that kids will be sure to love.
 

Whatever happens for this coming back-to-school, these supplements will assist your child to stay on a healthy track by helping to maintain their bone, brain, and immune health. Keep an eye out for more great information and fun and easy recipes in our blog series on children’s health!
 

Sparking Sorbet Floats 

Makes: 4 servings
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-pint mango, peach, strawberry, or desired-flavor frozen sorbet
  • Add desired-flavor carbonated fruit juice, chilled
  • 1 packet of Kid’s Probiotic Stix, natural cherry flavor in each glass


 

DIRECTIONS:

Place two scoops of sorbet in the bottom of each 6-8 oz glass. Fill each glass with carbonated natural fruit juice (alternatives: Bubly or La Croix sparkling water, or make your own carbonated fruit juice by combining your favorite natural juice with club soda)
 

Source: Family Circle


 


 

Strawberry-Orange Freezer Pops 

Makes: 8 servings


 

INGREDIENTS:


 

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients together. Pour mixture into 8 freezer pop molds, add wooden sticks, and freeze.


 


 

Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Popcorn

Makes: 3 servings


 

INGREDIENTS:

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Pour Carlson Cod Liver Oil and melted butter over popcorn, and gently toss. Sprinkle with seasoning. Gently toss again and enjoy!
 


 

» More Omega-3 Recipes