Vitamin K is one of the fat soluble vitamins our body needs. It’s mainly known for its role in blood clotting, which is how it got its name (the K comes from its German name: Koagulationsvitamin). The bacteria in our gut are actually capable of making vitamin K for us, but usually not in sufficient amounts for our needs.
If your family likes to carve pumpkins for Halloween, you may be wondering what to do with all the pumpkin seeds inside. They actually make a great snack for older kids! Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a common snack in Mexican and other Latin American cuisines. In the US, they are a popular snack in the fall, where they are usually served roasted.
Breakfast can be an especially challenging meal for families, especially for kids who are in school or need to get to daycare by a particular time. Kids can by cranky and time is rushed. Add in picky eating and you have a recipe for a very stressful morning. Coming up with breakfast ideas everyday can be a daunting task and often it becomes easier to just serve the same thing every morning (I get it, I’ve been there).
Vitamin E is the name we use for a group of fat soluble nutrients that act as antioxidants. We produce free radicals when our body converts food into energy or we are exposed to certain compounds in the environment. These free radicals can cause cellular damage. Antioxidants can help fight that damage.
I don’t often recommend talking about nutrition with kids. It tends to put pressure on them to eat certain foods. That being said, there are certain kids that are going to be naturally curious about what they are eating and may ask about what different foods do in their bodies. They may have been told in school that “eating the rainbow” helps them to get all the nutrients that they need, but they may not understand exactly what that means.
ALL foods provide something to our bodies. Even if that something is just energy. It’s important to keep in mind that food is more than just nutrients and energy, it’s also part of our culture, family, and heritage. Many times foods provide comfort. These things are just as important as the nutrition that the food provides.
While this article will be focusing specifically on different colored foods and what they bring to the table nutritionally, one way to help keep foods off of a pedestal is to talk about the nutrients in all foods. Chocolate, for example, contains magnesium. Many candies may just provide energy and that’s ok! Kids need a lot of energy. Try not to focus on just foods that have traditionally been labeled as “healthy” or “good.”
Magnesium is a nutrient that is important for bone health, making it an important nutrient for kids. While true deficiency is rare, many people in the US are not consuming adequate amounts of magnesium. It has become a more popular supplement in recent years, possibly helping with blood pressure, diabetes, and migraines. Most kids will not need a magnesium supplement, but can meet their needs through a diet with lots of variety.
There are very few foods I recommend completely avoiding, however honey before age 1 is one of them. The issue with honey and babies is not nutritional, but safety. Babies are born with an immature immune system that develops over time. There is no magical change that happens at exactly 12 months, but it is around this age where most babies have a mature enough immune system to handle honey safely.