March 1, 2016

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.; however, it is also time to take measures to ensure the health of your kids’ immune system.  Going back into the classroom exposes kids to a plethora of challenges lurking around.  So, while you start packing healthy lunches, it is important to consider some key nutrients to help keep your child’s immune system healthy!

Offering kids healthy foods is the first line of defense to nourish them, and helps keep a well-functioning immune system going strong.  Whenever possible, try incorporating extra veggies and fruits into their meals and snacks to provide some powerhouse antioxidant nutrients for good health.

Since kids can be picky eaters, they may need some additional help to meet their daily nutrient requirements.

Another super nutrient to add to your checklist to help support kids’ immune health, is vitamin D.  Yes, the “sunshine” vitamin does wonders for our health from our youth through our elder years.  Unfortunately, kids are not getting enough of this essential vitamin.  Not only is vitamin D essential for healthy bones, it helps support a healthy immune system.  The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine now recommends 600 IU of vitamin D for all infants, children and adolescents age one year and older. Parents should discuss the needs of infants younger than one year old with their pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a rising rate of vitamin D deficiency among infants, children and adolescents and the potential risks of low vitamin D status including rickets (the softening of the bones) and negative effects on heart and immune health.1 With this in mind, it is important to ensure your child receives an adequate amount of vitamin D daily, for overall good health and a healthy immune system.

Nature Made Vitamin D-3 400 IU Kids Chewable is a fun and easy way to help your child meet her daily Vitamin D requirement. One tablet daily meets a majority of the recommended amount for vitamin D for kids with a great tasting orange flavor, with the rest of her needs being met through her diet.

(1)  Wagner CL & Greer FR. “Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants Children, and Adolescents.” Pediatrics 2008; 122:1142-1152.

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Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN

Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT promotes nutrition and wellness as an author, media spokesperson, motivational speaker, and corporate consultant. Erin is the author of the newly released “Belly Fat Diet for Dummies” (Wiley 2012) as well as the creator and author of the Healthy 'n Fit Weight Management Program and the Healthy Resolutions Weight Management Program. She also serves as the featured expert in the #1 best selling diabetes Ipad App “Diabetes: What Now” by Everydayhealth and is the featured nutrition expert on the weekly syndicated health show KnowMoreTV.

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