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Giving Your Child the Essential Vitamins They Need

When given the chance to choose their own meals, many children would opt for foods that don't necessarily make a complete meal with all of the vitamins and nutrients that they need.

That's why as parents we need to make sure that they are getting all of these important vitamins when we are choosing their daily meals.

Besides giving your child a daily multi-vitamin keep these tips in mind when label reading to make sure that they are getting all that they need from their food:

Calcium: Getting enough calcium is important to everyone, especially children. That's why children require at least 800 mg of calcium for children ages 4 to 8, and at least 1,300 mg of calcium for children 9 and older.

Iron: Many multi-vitamins do not contain iron, so be sure to supplement your child's meals with iron-rich foods to be sure they get the recommended 10 mg of iron a day.

Folic Acid: Important for so many reasons, including the production of red blood cells and healthy skin, hair and gums, a typical child's dose of folic acid is 75 to 150 mcg daily.

Vitamin C: Especially during cold and flu season, be sure to increase your child's daily intake of Vitamin C to at least 1 gram per day.

Vitamin D: Children's growing bones require plenty of Vitamin D, so many pediatricians recommend that children take a supplement with 800 to 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is also important for a growing child's body, but too much Vitamin A can also be toxic, therefore many pediatricians suggest increasing your child's beta carotene intake, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body.

While these are just some of the main vitamins that your school-aged child needs on a daily basis, be sure to check with your own pediatrician to see what vitamins and minerals they suggest specifically for your child.

Make sure that your child is eating balanced meals and taking a daily multi-vitamin and your child will be well on their way to healthy lifestyle.

Sugar Hangover: Tips for Parents and Children to Avoid Sugar Overload this Halloween

Long gone are the days when young trick or treaters travel from door to door getting fruit and popcorn from their neighbors. Instead, the new “normal” is to give out as much candy as possible and at the end of Halloween night the children's bags are chock full of sugar-filled, unhealthy items.

Nutrition experts (and dentists) cringe every time October 31 rolls around, but this year parents can not only do their part in giving out healthier treats, but they can also be sure to monitor what their children are eating, too.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for anyone, but do we know what effects too much sugar can have on our children? Nutrition experts offer the following points:

Children that consume too much sugar and too many carbs, can suffer from hypoglycemia causing fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings and frequent illness.

Too many “empty calories” can mean that children aren't getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

A new diabetic is diagnosed every 8 minutes, a threefold increase in the past 5 to 6 years when a new diabetic was diagnosed every 23 minutes.

Recent research has shown that more than 20% of school-aged children are obese and more than 50% are overweight.

Too much sugar can cause chronically elevated blood insulin levels triggering inflammatory problems and elevated cholesterol.

Now don't get us wrong, this Halloween doesn't have to be all “doom and gloom” when it comes to having a few treats.

Parents need to be very careful in monitoring what their child puts into their mouth and how often they are turning to sugary items.

Ration the sugary products over a longer period of time and incorporate them with a protein snack.

Having a protein, especially before the sugar snack, will slow and reduce the rate and quantity of insulin secreted by the pancreas, thereby reducing many of the risks stated above.

Here is to a Healthy and Happy Halloween. Enjoy!

Tips for Packing Nutritious School Lunches

Today's parents constantly worry that their children aren't getting the right foods in their lunch. That's why the right lunch begins well before noon. The right lunch begins at the grocery store and carries over in every meal they eat. Here we breakdown the grocery store for you section by section.

Supermarkets are filled with nutritious choices nowadays and by enlisting the help of your child when shopping for their lunch foods, he or she can learn how to make the best choices as they grow up and create meals of their own.

Be sure to check out the following areas of your supermarket and your child's lunch will not only be filled with great tasting foods, but it will also create a healthy lunch.

The Produce Section: The produce section is always a good place to start when it comes to a healthy lunch. Choosing fruits and vegetables that your child enjoys and even some they may have never tried is a great idea and is always a good place to find those important vitamins and minerals that every child needs.

The Drink Aisle: While many children would love to enjoy a sugary soft drink with their lunch, a better option is a 100 percent juice instead. Be a label reader and avoid juices with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and artificial flavors.

The Dairy Section: The dairy section is also an area where you can find some great foods. Try low-fat dairy options, like cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt.

The Snack Food Aisle: Many parents would avoid this aisle completely, but there are still some great lunch items that can be found in the snack food aisle. Be on the lookout for baked and not fried snacks, avoid trans-fats, choose whole-wheat over non-whole grain snacks, grab some all natural granola bars that offer whole grains, nuts and pieces of fruit all in one snack.

Just by paying some attention to the labels and what is going into your child's lunch each day, your child will have the nutrition and energy necessary to get through his or her day, the healthy way.

Additional Good Grocery Shopping Tips

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located. Avoid the center aisles where junk foods lurk.

Choose "real" foods, such as 100% fruit juice or 100% whole-grain items with as little processing and as few additives as possible. Stay clear of foods with cartoons on the label that are targeted to children. If you don't want your kids eating junk foods, don't have them in the house.

Avoiding foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.

 

Back to School and Back to Sleep: Ways to Get Your Child Back on a School Sleeping Schedule

As parents and their children enjoy their last month of summer, school is looming right around the corner. Now is the time to get back into a school sleeping schedule, after having such a lax sleeping schedule over the summer months. According to the Federal Citizen Information Center, children between the ages of 6 and 9 require at least 10 hours of sleep per night and older children require at least 9 hours. To get your child in the school sleeping schedule:

Create a regular bed time and make sure you and your child stick to it.

Make sure your child avoids eating a heavy meal before their bed time.

Make sure your child avoids caffeine at least 6 hours before their bed time.

Allow for play and relaxation time before their bed time.

Create a bed time routine that is relaxing for your child, instead of stressful.

All of these pieces of advice will help to make the transition to a school sleeping schedule a smooth one for you and your child.

Back to School 101: Tips to Keep Your Children Healthy When Heading Back to School

It's already that time of year again when your children will be heading back to school. While it may be a time of relief for parents, it can also be a time of stress when you are dealing with all of the illnesses and germs that children are susceptible to at school.

So, how can you help keep your child healthy throughout the school year? Follow these tips to keep your child in school and out of the doctor's office:

Remind your child of the importance of washing their hands, not only before lunch and after using the rest room, but also when they get home from school.

Remind your child to keep their fingers and hands out of their mouth. So many germs are spread this way and infections could ensue.

Give your child a daily vitamin. This will help them to build their immune systems and fight infections better.

Remind your child not to drink from other children's cups or use their utensils.

Make sure your child gets a physical before the school year starts. This will help to target any health problems prior to the start of the school year.

Make sure that your child gets 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Getting the right amount of sleep is important to keeping your child healthy.

Make sure to feed your child a nutritious and balanced diet each day. Getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals in their diet will also aid in building their immune systems and will lead to an overall healthier child.