The research study, published in the journal Nutrients, revealed that most U.S. children lack the following: calcium, iron, vitamin D, and DHA, which is a a type of omega-3 fatty acid. In order to conclude their findings, researchers studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001-2016.
“Vitamins D and E are fat-soluble vitamins that cannot be made by the body. To get proper levels, these vitamins have to be consumed in the foods we eat,” commented Natasha Burgert, MD, board-certified pediatrician, and nationally recognized child health expert in an interview Eat This Not That.
She goes on to say that, “Children get deficiencies in these vitamins because their diets are often inconsistent in variety and amount. Even the most well-intentioned parent can have a hard time ensuring these vitamins are consumed in enough quantity.”
Burget says that parents can ensure that their kids get enough vitamin D by offering them dairy products, fatty fish (such as salmon), and fortified orange juice. Vitamin E can be sourced from peanut butter and dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach.
But what if you have a picky eater? Well, here are five tips to help you help your picky eater try new foods, enjoy, and get the nutrients that they need.
Get creative with food presentation: Some kids just don’t like the way that the food looks or even the texture of it. Need to introduce those leafy greens and they just aren’t getting off of the plate? You can blend them in a brightly colored smoothie and only you will be the wiser.
Be a role model: We all know that children mimic what they see. If you are eating healthily, then they will too.
Reward them right: Many times parents use deserts and sugary foods to reward children for eating the healthier options on their plates. Ditch the treats and reward them with stickers, extra game time, etc. Rewards don’t have to be food related.
Rule out allergies: Food allergies sometimes have clear tell tell signs such as rashes, itching, and swelling. However, some intolerance can incur internally. Sometimes nausea and tummy aches mean that they may be intolerant/allergic to what you are serving.
Get the entire family involved in meal prep: Children love to help. Get them involved in planning and even cooking the meal. Research shows that children who are involved in meal prep tend to consume healthier foods and are developing skills for adulthood.