Vitamins and Minerals

Should my school-age child take a vitamin and mineral supplement?

Vitamin and mineral supplementation is rarely required in middle childhood. If your child is healthy and eats a reasonably balanced diet, supplementation is unnecessary. Supplementation should be considered if your child has an eating disorder, poor eating habits, or if he or she follows a restrictive or alternative diet such as a fad diet, a vegan diet (excludes all food of animal origin), or a fruitarian diet (only raw and dried fruits, seeds, sprouted seeds and grains, and nuts; no cooked foods, vegetables, or animal products).

Is megavitamin therapy safe?

Megavitamin therapy (extremely large vitamin doses) is unsafe. If you are tempted to try megadose vitamin therapy for your child or for yourself, beware! Vitamins or minerals in very large amounts can lead to serious health problems. Fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K – are stored in the body and, if taken in large doses, can build up to toxic levels causing problems such as deafness, kidney stones, headaches, and blurred vision. When high dose vitamin or mineral supplementation is appropriate, it needs to be prescribed and monitored by a physician.

Useful Info: Benefits of Breakfast

Breakfast really matters. Studies show that children who don’t eat breakfast have difficulty concentrating and staying alert at the beginning of the school day. Eating breakfast actually improves school performance.

Healthy Habits: Breakfast Ideas

The following foods are easy to prepare and can be eaten for breakfast: cold cereal with fruit, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole grain toaster waffles topped with fresh or canned fruits, breakfast bars with milk, and warmed up leftover pizza.

The following foods can be eaten as a breakfast on-the-run: granola bar with milk, bagel or toasted English muffin with peanut butter, raisin/bran or fruit/oatmeal muffin with juice, crackers and cheese with juice.

Healthy Habits: Food Handling

Packing School Lunches

  • Purchase an insulated, soft pack and an unbreakable thermos.
  • Use plastic containers for crushable foods.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry all reusable containers.
  • Wash hands before preparing food.
  • Choose foods that require no refrigeration.
  • Wash fruit before packing.
  • Peel and wash vegetables before packing.
  • Pack portions that match your child’s appetite.

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some good sources of fiber for my child’s school lunch box?

A: Sandwiches made with whole wheat bread provide a good source of fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, and carrots are all high fiber foods that are safe bets as child pleasers.

Choosing Good Nutrition at the Vending Machine

Leave the... Instead Choose...
potato chips baked tortilla chips
cheese snacks pretzels, popcorn
candy bars granola bar, trail mix
soft drinks water, low-fat milk or chocolate milk
ice cream pure fruit popsicle, frozen yogurt
cookies graham crackers, fig bars