“5th October 2012, Tommy has grown taller by another two inches. I watched him smile as he made another mark on the door frame.”
Watching your kids grow is both wonderful and terrifying. Is it really possible for their little bodies to be growing up that fast? It’s hard to believe just how hard their insides are working when you realize they’ve grown two inches in a month!
However, it’s because of these rapid growth spurts that children sometimes have nutritional deficiencies- their diets cannot keep up with the extra amounts of vitamins and minerals they need for their bones to grow and their brains to develop. It’s not a parental failure if a child shows signs of a vitamin deficiency, it’s more than likely that they are just not getting enough of one the vital vitamins or minerals in the diets they are already eating.
The most common deficiencies in children are iron and vitamin D, so don’t hold back on packing their diets with food rich in both these essentials. You don’t have to sneak in iron and vitamin D into your kid’s meals- see the lists below for foods high in these essentials.
Iron is needed to transport oxygen in the blood and for brain development. If children are lethargic and have low energy levels, then an iron deficiency might be the cause. This can be common in children who have been exposed to cows’ milk early on (before 12 months), or in children who eat a vegetarian diet.
‘Kid Friendly’ Sources of Iron
- baked potato with the skin on
- pumpkin pie
- fortified cereals
- waffles and pancakes – why not treat your kids with pancakes drenched in molasses for an extra iron kick? A treat for their taste buds and their bodies!
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is vital for immune development and the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Symptoms include being prone to colds, poor hair growth, and poor bone growth.
‘Kid Friendly’ Sources of Vitamin D
- eggs – why not send your kids to school with a salami and boiled egg sandwich once a week to give their bones an extra boost? They will love you for it!
Although the symptoms of these deficiencies are serious, if treated early it is easy to reverse their effects. However, it’s important to seek advice from a doctor if your child is suffering from any of these symptoms.
Children are hardy creatures, and quite often will bounce back with renewed vigor once they are getting all the goodness they need.