It’s that time of year again... back to school! While kids may frown at the thought, most parents are smiling that it is time to get the kids back to school and on some sort of routine again. As parents, we know this time comes with a lot of preparation, including getting school gear, school supplies, etc. Similar to year round, it is important to continue taking measures to support the health of your kid's immune system. So, before you start packing those school lunches, consider adding foods containing key nutrients to support your child’s immune system!
Nutrients for Immune Health
Offering kids a variety of healthy foods is the first step in offering daily nourishment. But did you know there are a few essential vitamins and minerals that help support immune health? Here are a few:
Vitamin C: This essential vitamin can be found in citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as strawberries, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 25 mg/day for kids aged 4-8 years, and 45 mg/day for kids aged 9-13 years . Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and helps neutralize free radicals in the body. It’s one “rad” vitamin that growing bodies need every day!†
Vitamin D: Also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, this essential nutrient is obtained through direct sun exposure (without sunscreen for better absorption) or through foods such as fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk and breakfast cereal. The RDA for Vitamin D for kids aged 4-13 years is 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. Most of the U.S. population over age 1 has an inadequate daily intake of this nutrient in their diet . Yet Vitamin D is a very important nutrient! It helps aid in calcium absorption, helps support bone, teeth, and muscle health, and helps support immune health.†
Zinc: This essential mineral is found mainly in animal foods, such as beef, poultry, and shellfish. While Zinc can be found in nuts and legumes, these plant sources are less bioavailable than Zinc from animal sources . The RDA for Zinc in children aged 4-8 years is 5 mg/day and in children aged 9-13 years is 8 mg/day. Children who are vegetarians, or do not eat a lot of meat-based products, might be low in Zinc . Why is that important? Zinc is vital for normal growth and development and is also a key immune support nutrient, so it’s an important nutrient to ensure your child is consuming every day.†
Whenever possible, try incorporating extra veggies and fruits into your child’s meals and snacks to provide essential nutrients for your kid’s health.
Immune Support Supplements
Since some kids are picky eaters, they may need additional help to meet their daily nutrient requirements in the form of dietary supplements. Nature Made® Kids First® is a line of children’s vitamins and supplements specially formulated to meet kids’ nutritional needs, including nutrients that will support their immune system.†
Kids First® Vitamin D3 Gummies support healthy bone and tooth development. Vitamin D3 is the body’s preferred form of Vitamin D, and these gummy vitamins come in yummy strawberry, peach, and mango flavors.†
If you’re looking beyond immune health to kid’s vitamins for daily nutritional support, you can try our Kids First® Multivitamin Gummies in orange and strawberry flavors. Packed with key nutrients, including vitamins C and D, and Zinc, they’re a tasty way for kids to take their vitamins.†
Get your child ready to go back to school with a well-balanced diet containing the essential vitamins and minerals that will help support their immune system. Before considering vitamins for kids, be sure to check with your child’s healthcare provider to discuss your child’s nutritional needs as well as any nutrients that may be missing from their diet.†
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
“Children.” Linus Pauling Institute, 4 Jan. 2022. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/life-stages/children.
National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin D.” 2 Jun. 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h4
Amy has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a credentialed English teacher, though she left the classroom to write full time. She especially enjoys creating educational content about health, wellness, and nutrition. Her happy place is in the kitchen, and when not writing, you can find her trying out “kid-friendly recipes” and “healthy desserts for chocolate lovers” from her Pinterest board.
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