We spend so much time preparing meals and snack for our kids, but is our child eating the right foods? With the new school year starting, now is the perfect time to reevaluate our children’s nutrition needs! Children’s Hospital of Michigan helps narrow it down by sharing the most common nutrition deficiencies among children.

Iron Deficiency

A lack of iron is the leading cause of anemia or low hemoglobin concentration, causing fatigue, weakness, shortage of breath and dizziness. Severe anemia in pregnant women can result in poor fetal growth, preterm birth, low birth weight and increased risk of death for the mother and the baby. Iron is an essential mineral critical for motor and cognitive development. Consult with a pediatrician before supplementing your child’s diet with iron. Too much iron can be harmful to your child’s health.

  • Try adding spinach in a morning smoothie or afternoon snack! Spinach is high in iron and the flavor can easily hide behind all that yummy fruit kids are used to.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Children with inadequate vitamin A intake have an increased risk of preventable blindness and death from severe infections, such as diarrhea and measles. Breastfeeding infants and providing vitamin A supplements to children aged 6 months to 5 years can help protect them from vitamin A deficiency.

  • Swap out that morning bowl of cereal for a cooked egg and some vitamin A rich fruits, like mango and cantaloupe!

Iodine Deficiency

Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to complications, including brain damage, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion and congenital disabilities. Even less severe iodine deficiency may still cause impaired intellectual capacity later in life. Doctors recommend taking supplements daily containing 150 micrograms of iodine for pregnant and breastfeeding women to prevent the adverse effects of iodine deficiency in children. Furthermore, women planning a pregnancy are advised to take daily iodine supplement starting at least three months before pregnancy.

  • Try throwing something new together for lunch, a yogurt parfait! Yogurt and other dairy products are Iodine-rich foods.

Folate Deficiency

Folate (vitamin B9) enables the body to generate new cells every day. Before conception and the earliest days of fetal growth, it is essential to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, in babies. Folic acid is another form of vitamin B9. Women of reproductive age need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.

  • Grab some citrus fruits like oranges to check off those folate needs!

Zinc Deficiency

Taking the recommended daily amount of zinc helps promote a healthy pregnancy, regulate immune functions and strengthen the body against infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. It also increases growth and weight gain among infants and young children. Giving children foods rich in zinc is important when they are about 6 months old to boost their overall wellness.

  • Make your PB&J sandwiches with whole grain bread and pair it with a cheese stick to tick the boxes for zinc!

Vitamin D Deficiency

Inadequate amounts of vitamin D in children can cause bone diseases, such as rickets. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium, strengthen the immune system against bacteria and viruses and regulate muscle and nerve functions. Doctors recommend providing vitamin D beginning shortly after birth.

  • Got milk? Cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk…they all are rich in Vitmain D. Drink up!

Photo Credit: Source