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Boosting 4 Vital Nutrients Kids Need

Easy tips to help your kids get more of 4 essential nutrients often missing from their diets.

Vitamin D: Essential for Bone Health and Overall Health

Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is both a vitamin and a hormone that can be manufactured from sunlight. Vitamin D from food is more reliable at helping calcium get into bones. It’s been called the miracle vitamin, as numerous studies suggest vitamin D goes beyond bone health and may reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more.

Stealth Health Tip: Add low-fat milk to puddings, soups and smoothies.

Potassium: Essential Nutrient for Muscles

Potassium means more than orange juice and bananas. Every food has potassium. In fact, meat, dairy, and seafood are packed with the potassium your child's body needs for normal heart rhythm, muscle function, and blood pressure. When it comes to kids getting enough potassium, the fresher the food, the better.

  • Serve fresh (cooked) meat to your child. Pork tenderloin and pork center roast are particularly high in potassium.
  • Encourage three servings of low-fat dairy foods daily, such as yogurt and milk.
  • Toss drained and rinsed canned beans into salads, soups, and stews.
  • Puree fruits canned in juice to use as a topping for low-fat yogurt. Or mix with plain yogurt.
  • Prepare a fruit crisp for dessert instead of cookies.
  • Make frozen juice pops with 100% juice.
  • Concoct a sandwich with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, or almond butter and banana or apple on whole-wheat bread.
  • Top cereal with fruit.

Stealth Health Tip: Make your own high-potassium trail mix with chopped dried apricots or peaches, whole-grain cereal, roasted soy nuts and a few mini chocolate chips.

Make use of these easy hints and stealthy tips -- or come up with your own -- and your kids can easily get more of these five essential nutrients their growing bodies need.

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Reviewed on June 06, 2011

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