So many of us try to do the right thing every day to support our kid’s health.
We get up, make a healthy breakfast, take a shower, and take our vitamins for the day. We want to live long, healthy, active lives and this is a good way to help that happen. What about our kid’s health? I don’t know about how your morning goes, but more along the lines of a couple of cartoons, a quick tooth brushing, and eggos. I try to feed my kids well. They eat their share of fruits, organics meats, and dairy, organic whole grain bread… but I still know they are not getting the variety they need to obtain all of their nutrients. In my mind, no one eats a diet less well-rounded and nutrient fulfilling than kids, especially your toddlers and preschoolers. Let’s not forget, there is mountain evidence that certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to neurologic problems in the growing brain. Plus, disorders linked to Vitamin B deficiency and Vitamin E deficiency. So, why is it that the little people so in need of supplementation are the people less likely to get it?
I think part of it is we just assume and we all grew up and turned out OK, despite what we ate. I’ll admit, there are times when we are eating pizza for the 3rd night of a busy week and that thought has popped into my head. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could help our kids physically and neurologically with just a few easy dietary supplements? You should definitely do your best to feed your kids as best you can (here is a cool article about letting the kids help in the kitchen), but for your busy 3 nights of pizza weeks/finicky eaters/days of survival mode (we all have them), here are some cheats to make sure your kids have an advantage over their schoolmates getting eggos for breakfast without the supplemental help.
This is the ultimate in an awesome tasting, yet high-quality kids multivitamin (if you are concerned about your kids getting the 6 grams of sugar per serving, Metagenics makes another good multivitamin called Phyromulti Kids but I haven’t had anywhere near the success with kids flavor-wise). It has all of the essential vitamins that a growing little person may need (including the ever important Vitamin D3 which is almost impossible to get through diet) in 4 super yummy gummies. Before you worry too much about these being too close to candy, remember Nordic Naturals does not put any artificial coloring, flavoring, or preservatives in their gummies. And they are GMO-free.
There is a ton of evidence that Omega 3’s are crucial building blocks of child development and huge for brain and eye function. The benchmark for dietary Omega 3’s for kids is 2 servings of fish per week. My kids, at this age (3 and 5) would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever consider actually consuming anything related to fish. I am pretty sure they are more likely to eat their sneakers (which are low in Omega 3’s). So a fish oil for any kids like mine is pretty essential. That being said, you have to be really careful about what fish oils you give your kids. Any fish oil that has been transported hot or has not been tested for purity or harmful toxins (heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs) could actually be hazardous to your health. Nordic Naturals does all of that and is “friend of the sea” certified, so you know you are giving your kids the best of the best. Now, this particular product is for kids five and older, Nordic Naturals also makes a liquid or chewable’s for younger kids and even babies.
It is almost universally accepted that probiotics are good for kids. Why? They help with a multitude of issues. There is research showing that they could improve gut immunity (our gut is responsible for sooo much, this “gut immunity” can help you ward off colds and possibly even allergies), oral health, and even help manage eczema. At the bare minimum, they help keep your gut healthy and balanced. The problem is, as, with all vitamins and supplements, there are no federal regulations of the manufacturing of probiotics. They could have all/none/or something completely different than what they put on the label. So you have to be extremely careful of all supplements you buy, especially the ones you are putting in your kid’s mouth. Metagenics (and all of the other manufacturers we carry) rely on rigorous (read: expensive) third party testing to be sure of the quality and purity of their raw materials followed by testing of the final product to be sure that what is on the label is in the bottle. The majority of probiotics have no active cultures at all, no matter what is says on the label. So shop carefully and do your research. BTW, Metagenics makes a baby probiotic too, especially helpful for your colicky, gassy babies.
Formulated as a low-allergy-potential protein powder for kids with food sensitivities (lactose, wheat, etc.), I like to think of it as a protein/vitamin powder that is easily digestible to any kid, food allergies or not. This powder is chock full of good stuff, why not add a scoop to your kiddos morning routine. They recommend putting it in water, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t taste better with some berries and maybe a banana blended in there. My kids love having a smoothie in the morning (OK, so I cheat and call it their “morning ice cream”) and I kind of think of it as bonus calories. Especially if they are getting a carb heavy breakfast in the morning (cereals, waffles, pancakes, etc). This is a great way to throw some protein in the mix and keep them from running on empty 30 minutes after they get to school.
So, there you have it, pretty much our cheat sheet for keeping our kids as healthy as possible without fighting them on every meal. Feel free to comment with tips on how you get your kids to eat things that contain actual nutrients! Until next time…..Dr. Kent