What Nutrients Are Lacking In My Kid's or Loved One's Diet?
If given complete control, I think I could safely say that my children would LOVE to only eat cereal, macaroni and cheese, pizza, and bananas everyday of their life. And while each of these items provide a number of the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development, they definitely do not contain them all and are often filled with excess fat and sugar.
“Is my child getting the nutrients they need?” is a common and often stressful question many parents have. This is especially the case when a diet is limited because of sensory aversions, or other feeding difficulties.
Current research shows that although micronutrient deficiencies, (more serious,) are rarely found in industrialized nations like the United States, micronutrient inadequacies are1 .These inadequacies, while not life-threatening, can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration and/or additional long term adverse health effects 2. The most recent 2015-2020 United States Dietary Guidelines have a similar message as that from years past: We are not eating enough fruits and vegetables and are eating way too much sugar and fat 3.
Here Are 8 Nutrients More Likely To Be Inadequate In The Average Diet 4 And Some Of Their Best Food Sources 5 :
- Fortified Cereals
- Pumpkin Seeds
2. Vitamin D
- Fatty Fish (salmon with bones or tuna)
- Fortified Milk
- Egg Yolks
- Dark Leafy Vegetables (like kale, bok choy, and broccoli)
- Peanut Butter
- Lima Beans
- Whole Wheat Bread or Spaghetti
- Orange Juice
- Dried Beans
- Enriched Grains
- Black Beans
- Brown Rice
- Soy Milk
- Winter Squash
- Dry Beans
8. Vitamin E
- Sunflower Seeds
- Peanut Butter
- Vegetable Oil
Now that you know which nutrients to watch out for and the foods you need to get them, your problems are solved!
Your child or any other person in your care, (including yourself,) will be happy to sit down to a nice meal consisting only of lentils, bok choy, spinach and prunes….right?
Unfortunately, I haven’t often seen this with my own children and sometimes myself. This is where parental or caretaker efforts must come in full force. It’s time to get creative, try new recipes and new ways of presentation; (topics for another day.) Consistency is crucial! The more times they are offered a food, the more times they might try it…and like it!
Please remember that the sources listed above are, of course, not the only contributing foods of each highlighted vitamin and or mineral. These are just some of the foods containing higher levels. Variety in your diet is key! This is not only true for healthier eating, but also for eating that is just more fun.
- Huskisson E, Maggini S, Ruf M. The role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well-being. J Int Med Res. 2007;35(3):277-289.
- Nutritional deficiencies during normal growth. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2009;56:1035–1053.
- American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition guide revised and updated 3rd version, Roberta Larson Duyuff. Pages 147, 74-106, 132-144
Essential Kitchen Appliances To Have!
A crock pot is a simple way to prepare meals in advance. Cooking foods, especially meats, at controlled temperatures for long periods of time makes them easy to chew and delicious!
There is no finer way to puree foods than a Vitamix Blender. It can turn any food into a single, smooth texture which is easy to swallow.
A food processor is a must have for finely chopping, slicing, and pureeing foods. It does all the work for you, which is especially helpful if your age or health status limits your ability to chop and slice foods by hand.