As kids head back to school, I've seen a bit of talk about childhood vitamins that children should be taking for improved focus and attention throughout the day.
I always thought that a well-balanced diet would give kids all they needed, but the fact is that children require a LOT of nutrients to support their growing bodies. Allergies and the occasional hunger strike (my picky kid goes through bouts of refusing to eat the color green, orange or purple), fast food solutions or a significant amount of physically demanding activities can take a toll on children's mental development. Childhood vitamins can provide peace of mind for stressed-out parents to ensure that their children get everything they need.
Some essential vitamins for children from about age 4 and up are:
- Vitamin B for metabolism, energy and proper circulation. Common sources include meat, eggs and cheeses as well as nuts, beans and soy – vegetarians and vegans have to be particularly conscientious about getting enough.
- Vitamin C for healthy tissue development. Kids usually get a decent amount of vitamin C since it's found in child-favorite fruits, but children with intolerances to certain citruses can struggle to meet their vitamin C needs.
- Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth development and helps with calcium absorption. Milk, dairy and sunlight are good sources of vitamin D.
- Vitamin E helps with healthy muscle development and is found primarily in vegetables such as avocados and spinach (you know, those green things that children occasionally refuse to eat) as well as whole grains.
Some Boy obviously hasn't mastered the art of swallowing pills yet and I'm wary of chewable vitamins that contain weird additives, but we've found a solution that works really well for us. We're working with Alternavites Kids, which is a gluten-free and vegetarian solution with NO sugar or artificial sweeteners. It's certified kosher and contains no egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish or shellfish, making it the perfect way to supplement kids who have allergies and intolerances.
It comes in single serving packets consisting of a melt-in-your-mouth powder (think pixy sticks!). I have Some Boy pour it directly on the front of his tongue and let it dissolve, and he's convinced he's getting a fun candy treat.
Of course, we all know that children can be wary of mom handing them a packet of candy, so if they refuse to take the packet that way it can be dissolved into foods that they regularly eat. I occasionally mix it up in yogurt or smoothies, or sprinkle it onto strawberries. I rely on foods that I know he loves to ensure he'll eat the whole thing and get a full daily dose.
Of course, there's always my old standby: freeze it into popsicles! This kid always finishes his popsicles, even when he's refusing everything from PB&J to pizza (seriously, what kind of kid refuses PIZZA?).
Vitamin popsicle, anyone? Alternavites Kids are formulated for kids ages 4 through 17, and they're sold at Whole Foods and Walmart in packs of 30. Add it to your monthly stock-up list to make sure your kid gets the childhood vitamins needed to learn and grow! Check out the brand on Facebook and Twitter for more information and clever kid health tips.