Among the vital nutrients that your child needs every day are calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. These also happen to be three nutrients that many kids in the US age 9 and older are lacking in their diets. So how do we get our kids to start getting the nutrients they need to help them grow strong? Well, we know potassium is found in spinach, calcium can be found in broccoli, and vitamin D is found in fatty fish such as salmon. But getting the full amount of those three nutrients can be a challenge without a well balanced diet. Here, we’re revealing one of the simplest ways to give your child these three nutrients every day – in just one move. See if you can guess what it is!
Broccoli contains calcium, but getting your child to eat enough of the vegetable to meet their daily calcium needs would translate to an ambitious 16 to 30 cups of broccoli for kids between 1 and 18 years old.
Drinking milk is an incredibly efficient way for kids to get calcium, in addition to eating calcium-rich veggies. Just two to three glasses of milk per day can help kiddos get nutrients they need (depending on age). Milk is the top food source for calcium in the American diet. Benefits include helping to build strong bones and teeth and helping our muscles and nerves function properly. Plus, milk’s creamy flavor is hard to beat!
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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
Broccoli isn’t the only green vegetable with health benefits: leafy greens also pack in plenty of nutrients. Spinach is one source of potassium, with about 84 mg in a half-cup portion. Since children need anywhere from 3,000 mg to 4,700 mg of potassium a day, depending on their age, they would have to eat a heaping helping of spinach salad to get all that potassium.
Believe it or not, one eight-ounce glass of milk contains the same amount of potassium as two and one quarter cups of raw spinach. That means you would need to consume almost seven cups of raw spinach to get the same amount of potassium that’s in three glasses of milk. Kids need potassium to maintain a healthy blood pressure and regulate the balance of fluids in their bodies. Milk can also help you stay hydrated, so drink up!
Vitamin D is important for developing and growing strong bones. It also helps us absorb calcium. This vital nutrient can be found in fatty fish like salmon, but a child would need to eat a serving size of nearly four ounces daily to get the necessary 600 IU. That’s a lot of salmon for small people.
Another simple way for kids to get enough vitamin D is – surprise – milk! One eight-ounce glass of milk contains 30 percent of the daily recommended amount. Getting enough vitamin D helps protect children from rickets, and just about three glasses of milk per day can help your child reach the daily recommended amount. That’s a pretty good reason to serve milk with any meal!
Fuertes Con Leche
Las pautas alimenticias para los estadounidenses recomiendan tres porciones de productos lácteos al día.* Los 9 nutrientes esenciales de la leche pueden ser difíciles de reemplazar en un modelo de alimentación saludable. Tres vasos de 8 onzas de leche proporcionan la misma cantidad de cada nutriente que los siguientes alimentos.
*Las pautas alimenticias para los estadounidenses del 2015-2020 recomiendan tres porciones de productos lácteos (leche, queso, yogurt) bajos en grasa o sin grasa para estadounidenses de 9 años en adelante.