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HELP ME GROW: The nutrients your kid needs

When you have a child, the most important thing is making sure they grow up as healthy as possible. Managing a balanced diet for your little one can be difficult. A great way to plan out meals and healthy habits is by thinking about what nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need.

Here are just a few important nutrients of a balanced diet that your child needs according to KidsHealth.org.

Calcium
Calcium is important for your child’s growth. Now is the time to pay attention to what they eat. Having enough calcium from childhood through teenage years provides strong bones for adulthood. It keeps muscles and nerves working, as well as your heart healthy. You can find great sources of calcium in milk and yogurt. If your child can’t have dairy, other options are broccoli, almonds, red beans and so much more.

Fiber
Fiber can be difficult to get onto a child’s plate. Sometimes the options available aren’t as tasty, but there are some great benefits. It allows you to feel full and helps the digestion process along. Fiber can also lower bad cholesterol and prevent diabetes and heart disease. The best way to add fiber into your child’s meals is with whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits like berries and bananas, and vegetables like legumes or green beans.

Fluoride
Fluoride is extremely important to your child’s oral health once they reach 6 months of age. It comes from fluorine which helps prevent cavities and can even reverse tooth decay. Kids under 6 months do not need fluoride just yet, but be sure to teach them early about brushing. Make it a game! Show your baby how to spit, not swallow, toothpaste. Fluoride can be found in most toothpastes. Kid’s Health advises you to buy a toothpaste with the ADA’s seal of acceptance. Another great source is drinking water.

Iron
Iron is a mineral that strengthens your red blood cells to help get oxygen where it is needed. Because getting enough iron is tricky, this can sometimes lead to iron deficiency. This can have effects on growth or cause behavioral problems. The best way to make sure your child is getting enough iron is through what they eat. Red meat, seafood, beans, dark leafy greens and tofu are great options.

We want our kids to enjoy what they eat, but let’s make sure their meals are good for them too. Learn more ways to make sure your child is healthy with the Help Me Grow program on Delaware Thrives.