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Necessary Nutrients for Kids

In our recent 2015 Ofsted assessment, we were pleased to be rated as “good” in overall effectiveness as: “a good agency that strives to improve the outcomes of children and young people across all aspects of their development” – this includes a healthy lifestyle and diet, and with issues such as child obesity facing today’s youth, it’s now more important than ever to stay informed when it comes to providing a nutritious diet for children.

Here at Perpetual Fostering, we encourage a healthy, active lifestyle along with a nutritious and balanced diet. Help optimise your child’s diet by making sure they’re getting the following five essential nutrients:

Calcium

For growing children, calcium is especially important. It’s the first thing they receive through their mother’s breast milk, but can be lacking in later diets. The benefit of calcium is that it helps build strong bones and prevents osteoporosis in later life.

Calcium can be found in the following foods:

  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • fortified foods like cereals
  • waffles
  • juice
  • soy milk

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential for good health and development. It is important for a child’s immune system and helps the body fight germs. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

For these reasons, it’s essential to start introducing foods that are vitamin E rich, such as:

  • avocado
  • nuts
  • peanut butter
  • sunflower seeds
  • plant oils
  • tomato sauce
  • wheat germ
  • spinach

Fibre

Fibre helps with a child’s digestive system, helping to prevent constipation. Foods with fibre are filling – though adding no calories – and therefore help to discourage overeating in children.  Fibre is also good for the heart and blood circulation system, and helps to prevent chronic illnesses in later life.

High-fibre foods include:

  • fruits (raspberries, blackberries, pears, oranges, and apples are some of the best)
  • high-fibre cereal
  • beans
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • whole-grain bread and pasta
  • oatmeal
  • popcorn
  • nuts
  • ground flaxseed
  • sweet potatoes
  • green peas

Potassium

Potassium is key for a healthy fluid balance and blood pressure, along with helping muscles to contract. It is an essential nutrient for good health and development.

The best sources for potassium are found in:

  • bananas
  • oranges and orange juice
  • white and sweet potatoes
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • cantaloupe
  • honeydew
  • dried apricots
  • tomatoes, tomato sauce
  • fish such as halibut and cod

Iron

Low iron intake is most prevalent in overweight children who have a high-fat diet. Iron is a very important nutrient for carrying oxygen to the blood and helps with brain development, however low iron intake can lead to increased risk of lead poisoning and can potentially cause learning and behavioural problems.

For a higher iron intake, use these foods in your child’s diet:

  • shrimp
  • beef
  • chicken
  • beans
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • tomato paste
  • soy nuts
  • raisins
  • whole wheat bread
  • fortified cold and hot cereals (check labels)

As with all vitamins and nutrients, ensure that your child receives the recommended daily amount (RDA) – not too much and not too little.

We pride ourselves on providing children with a safe, stable environment which also includes helping them with a healthy, varied and nutritious diet. Let us know if you have any hints or tips when it comes to nutrition and health – we’d love top hear your stories!

Article Information

Posted on 24 February 2015

Posted in Advice for young people / Foster Caring / Fostering children

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