6 Ways to Get Nutrition Into Your Kid's Drink

Sheri Reed

smoothieIt can be really tricky getting our kids to eat their Recommended Daily Allowance of nutrients and vitamins every day. So as parents, we have to get a little crafty.

No one said it's necessary for kids to chew each of the nutritional components of the food pyramid each day. In fact, there are many ways in which kids can drink their nutrition instead.

Read on for 6 Ways to Get Nutrition Into Your Kid's Drinks.

Here we've outlined the daily Nutritional Recommendations for Children* by age on a few of the most important nutrients and vitamins. Then we'll tell you ways to get that ingredient into a beverage for your child (hint: you will need a blender; the key here is mostly smoothies).

1. Protein (grams)

4-8 years: 19

9-13 years: 34

14-18 years, girls: 46

14-18 years, boys: 52

Ways to drink protein: Kids may drink cow's milk or milk mixed with one of the vitamin- and iron-rich chocolate mixes on the market. Soy milk and almond milk are also good sources of protein. Add yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, or vegetables to smoothies for protein also. One cup of milk or yogurt contains eight grams of protein. Nuts and vegetables contain about two grams of protein per serving.

2. Iron (mg)

4-8 years: 10

9-13 years: 8

14-18 years, girls: 15

14-18 years, boys: 11

Ways to drink iron: Dates, soy, leafy greens like spinach, almond milk, and soy milk are all excellent sources of iron and can be used to make a variety of delicious smoothies. I throw spinach in fruit smoothies regularly, and my kids don't even know it. And here's a yummy-sounding Date Almond Banana Smoothie recipe.

3. Calcium (mg)

4-8 years: 800

9-13 years: 1,300

14-18 years, girls: 1,300

14-18 years, boys: 1,300

Ways to drink calcium: Milk provides calcium for healthy bones and teeth. One eight-ounce cup of milk or calcium-fortified orange juice contains 300 milligrams of calcium. One six-ounce cup of yogurt, which can be used to make fruit smoothies, contains 225 milligrams of calcium.

4. Vitamin A (IU)

4-8 years: 1,333

9-13 years: 2,000

14-18 years, girls: 2.333

14-18 years, boys: 3,000

Ways to drink vitamin A: Good sources of vitamin A are milk, dark orange or green vegetables (like sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, pumpkin, and kale), and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, papayas, and mangoes.

5. Vitamin C (mg)

4-8 years: 25

9-13 years: 45

14-18 years, girls: 65

14-18 years, boys: 75

Ways to drink vitamin C: Some wonderful sources of vitamin C are kiwi, red berries, spinach, tomatoes, and juices made from orange, guava, and grapefruit. Think juices and smoothies, again.

6. Fiber (g)

4-8 years: 19-23

9-13 years: 23-28 (girls); 25-31 (boys)

14-18 years, girls: 23

14-18 years, boys: 31-34

Ways to drink fiber: Fruit and vegetables provide fiber. Some of the best sources of drinkable fiber are apples, oranges, bananas, berries, prunes, and pears. One medium raw pear with skin and a half cup of raspberries have four grams. An apple with skin has 3.3 grams. A medium orange or banana each have three grams.

Do you have any secret ways of getting nutrients or vitamins into your kids' beverages?


*Nutritional Recommendations for Children via Baylor College of Medicine 

Image via Sheri Reed/Flickr

Read More