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
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.
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.
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
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
Sparking Sorbet Floats
Makes: 4 servings
- 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
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
- 12 oz. of strawberry yogurt
- 2/3 c. of orange juice
- 4 tsp. of Carlson Kid's Cod Liver Oil, bubble gum flavor
Mix all ingredients together. Pour mixture into 8 freezer pop molds, add wooden sticks, and freeze.
Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Popcorn
Makes: 3 servings
- 6 c. of popped hot air popcorn
- 1 tbsp. of Carlson Kid's Cod Liver Oil, lemon flavor
- 2 tbsp. of butter, melted
- Frontier Natural Products “Garlic ‘N Herb” seasoning, to taste
Pour Carlson Cod Liver Oil and
melted butter over popcorn, and gently toss. Sprinkle with seasoning. Gently
toss again and enjoy!