It’s important for children to get enough vitamins and minerals as they grow to ensure optimal health.

Under certain circumstances, children may need to supplement with vitamins or minerals.

Children’s nutrient needs are dependent on age, sex, size, growth, and activity level.

Children between the ages of 2 and 8 require 1,000–1,400 calories each day. Those ages 9–13 need 1,400–2,600 calories daily — depending on certain factors, such as activity level.

In addition to eating enough calories, a child’s diet should meet the following Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).

Nutrient:

DRI for 1–3 years DRI for 4–8 years

Calcium 700 mg 1,000 mg

Iron 7 mg 10 mg

Vitamin A 300 mcg 400 mcg

Vitamin B12 0.9 mcg 1.2 mcg

Vitamin C 15 mg 25 mg

Vitamin D 600 IU (15 mcg) 600 IU (15 mcg)

Children require certain amounts of every vitamin and mineral, but older children and teens need different amounts than younger kids to support optimal health.

As children grow, they need calcium and vitamin D in adequate amounts of nutrients to help build strong bones.

Iron, zinc, iodine, choline, and vitamins A, B6 (folate), B12, and D are crucial for brain development in early life.

Especially in childhood, nutrients that help build bones and promote brain development are essential.

Kids that eat a healthy, balanced diet don’t need vitamin supplements.

Breastfed babies may require certain supplements, such as vitamin D, because infants have different nutrient needs than children.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans don’t recommend supplements over and above the recommended dietary allowances for children older than 1 who eat a balanced diet.

These organizations suggest kids eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein to obtain adequate nutrition and necessary nutrients for proper growth and development.

A balanced, healthy diet includes:

•Milk and dairy products like cheese and yogurt

•Plenty of fresh fruits and leafy, green vegetables

•Protein like chicken, fish, meat, and eggs

•Whole grains like steel-cut oats and brown rice

Vitamins are usually unnecessary for healthy children eating balanced diets.

Teens go through physical changes, like growth and puberty, during their teenage years. The body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to grow, develop, and stay healthy, so eating right during this time is especially important.

The best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need each day, is to eat a variety of foods and the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and calories.

The best choices for providing the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and grow properly are whole or unprocessed foods – like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, and poultry.

High-calorie foods like potato chips and cookies offer little nutritionally and It’s OK to eat but you don’t want to overdo it.

Check food labels and pick items that are high in vitamins and minerals.

For example, A glass of milk is a good source of vitamin D and the minerals calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. A glass of soda, on the other hand, doesn’t have any vitamins or minerals.

A few delicious, nutritious choices are: Vegetable pizzas or fajitas, sandwiches with lean cuts of meat, fresh salads, and baked potatoes.

Vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods and is important for manufacturing red blood cells. You can find vitamin B12 in eggs, milk and other dairy foods, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Vegans (vegetarians who eat no animal products at all, including dairy products) may need to take vitamin supplements.

Teens wonder if they should take vitamin or mineral supplements. You are probably getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, If your diet includes a wide variety of foods, including whole-grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meats.

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