by Alina Olteanu
One of the most challenging parenting issues is feeding kids. Food and nutrition is constantly on a parent’s mind, but with school, activities and everyday busyness, it’s not always easy for parents to prepare a nutritious meal every night.
Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits every day. That means to eat a variety of brightly colored vegetables at every meal and to snack on veggies and fruits once or twice a day. For example, try beets, tomatoes and apples for red; squash and apricots for orange; pineapple and corn for yellow; broccoli, green beans, cucumbers and kiwi for green; blueberries, plums and eggplant for blue and purple, and potatoes, onions and mushrooms for white. To make it fun, hang a rainbow chart in the kitchen. Also, kids help “buy a rainbow” at the farmers’ market or grocery.
Choose healthy fats such as sock-eye salmon, nuts, avocadoes and olive oil. Growing little bodies and brains need healthy fats every day. A handful of walnuts and Brazil nuts makes a wonderfully nutritious after school snack. Balance protein and carbohydrates at every meal; add eggs or a piece of toast with nut butter for breakfast; don’t just have a muffin. Drink lots of water. Eat yogurt or other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, buttermilk and kombucha.
Parents and pediatricians know that although this sounds like really great advice, it is hard to implement on a daily basis. Some days, kids just are going to get all the nutrition they need. If a child is a picky eater and doesn’t want to eat a healthy diet every single day, here are some top supplements for children.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids: 500 to 1,000 mg daily, depending on age. Liquid supplements are best, especially for younger kids that can’t swallow capsules.
Vitamin D3: 800 to 2,000 IU daily, especially during fall and winter months when kids do not spent a lot of time outside in the sun.
Probiotics: 1 billion to 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) for infants, and 10 billion to 20 billion CFU for older children and adults.
Remember that supplements do not replace a healthy, balanced diet; especially when it comes to the benefits of fish and fermented foods.
Alina Olteanu, M.D., Ph.D., is an integrative pediatric physician, certified meditation instructor and owner of Whole Child Pediatrics of North Texas, located near the Stonebriar Mall, in Frisco. For more information, call 214-736-1954 or visit WholeChildTexas.com.