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The Right Nutrition for Kids at Every Age

Posted by Katie Serbinski on August 9th, 2017 under General

Our children grow up so fast - one moment they're small babies, and the next thing you know they're full grown adults! It can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all the changes that children's bodies are going through, especially when it comes to nutrition. At every stage of life, nutrition is important, and in children, proper nutrition is crucial for growth and development. However, the nutritional requirements vary at each stage of life. As children grow and their bodies change, they may require larger amounts of certain nutrients. Help your child eat well and grow up healthy by making sure that they are getting enough of the essential nutrients. Below is a list of the nutrients that are the most important at each stage of a child’s life, as well as the best foods containing those nutrients:

 

 The Right Nutrition for Kids at Every Age | EnviroKidz

 

Toddler (ages 1 to 3 years)

Important Nutrients:

  • Vitamin A: important role in vision and bone growth, and helps protect body from infections.
  • Iron: chances of iron-deficiency increase, needed for oxygen transport and development.

Foods to Try:

  • Rich in vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and milk.
  • Rich in iron: leafy greens, beans, iron-fortified cereals, peas, dried fruit, and iron supplements. Note to non-vegetarian households: other iron-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, and fish. Consuming citamin C increases absorption of iron. 

 

Preschool (ages 3 to 5 years)

Important Nutrients:

  • Vitamin C: promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue and skin needed for proper physical development.
  • Iron: generally low in preschool-aged children, but is critical to a child’s brain development, immune system, and energy level.

Foods to Try:

  • Rich in vitamin C: oranges, strawberries, kale, broccoli, grapefruit, brussel sprouts.
  • Rich in iron: leafy greens, beans, iron-fortified cereals, peas, dried fruit, and iron supplements. Note to non-vegetarian households: other iron-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, and fish. Consuming citamin C increases absorption of iron. 
 
The Right Nutrition for Kids at Every Age | EnviroKidz

 

 

School-Aged (ages 6 to 12 years)

Important Nutrients:

  • Zinc: deficiency is associated with impaired cognitive abilities (affects child’s ability to think), retardation of growth and development, and reduced immunity.
  • Calcium: promotes optimal bone density, which will assist teen growth and reduce the risk of bone loss in later life.

Foods to Try:

  • Rich in zinc: seeds, beans, nuts, whole grains, cocoa, yogurt, mushrooms, spinach, zinc supplements. Note to non-vegetarian households: red meats, poultry, and oysters, are also good sources of zinc.
  • Rich in calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, tofu.

 

Teenager (ages 13 to 18 years)

Important Nutrients:

  • Calcium: important for growing bones and strong teeth.
  • Iron: an increase need due to rapid rate of growth, increase in blood volume, and menarche in women.

Foods to Try:

  • Rich in calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, tofu.
  • Rich in iron: leafy greens, beans, iron-fortified cereals, peas, dried fruit, iron supplements. Note to non-vegetarian households: other iron-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, and fish.Consuming vitamin C increases absorption of iron.

 

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As a parent, you always want what is best for your child, and you want them to be healthy. It's a good idea to make sure that your child is getting enough of the important nutrients from the list above, but it is also important to give your child a balanced diet, including the correct amounts of all the essential nutrients. Your child is constantly changing, and so are their nutritional needs. Hopefully this list will help you keep your child healthy and growing strong!

 

The Right Nutrition for Kids at Any Age | EnviroKidz

Katie Serbinski

Author Bio

 

Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Mom of two boys under two. She’s the founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition, a healthy food and lifestyle blog where she shares her “me time” with other health-minded parents. On her blog, you’ll find simple, family-friendly recipes, tips for new parents, and realistic nutrition advice. Connect with Katie through email Katie@MomToMomNutrition.com or Twitter @MomNutrition