Teaching children about nutrition at an early age can set them up for a future of healthy eating. In addition to talking about things like caloric needs, parents should also bring up vitamins. When discussing vitamins and minerals with children, here are a few tips for communicating effectively.
Explain What Vitamins Are
Start by going over vitamins in an age appropriate way. At a younger age, you can keep it as simple as “they’re tiny things in food that make you grow big and strong!” As children get older, you can go more in depth. Usually, by around five or six a child can comprehend the idea of essential vitamins. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K are vitamins the body cannot make themselves. These essential vitamins are especially important, so your child needs to eat plenty of them. By around the age of 10, most children can understand more mathematical and scientific concepts, like getting the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamins each day.
Give Easy-to-Remember Explanations on How to Get Vitamins
Most kids are not going to take the time to read nutritional information charts on food before they eat it. To make sure your child is getting plenty of vitamins, give them some basic ideas of what foods contain vitamins. Start by emphasizing that fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy have a lot of vitamins. From there, you can proceed to more specific examples, such as finding vitamin A in orange foods, vitamin C in citrus, and vitamin D from the sun. Consider mentioning a vitamin found in each food before you give it to your child. This can help them associate their favorite treats with nutrition.
Try a Science Experiment
Nothing gets kids engaged quicker than a hands-on experiment. A fun option is a homemade vitamin C test. Blend together 1 cup of water with ½ teaspoon of cornstarch and heat. Add a teaspoon of this mixture to a cup of water and four drops of iodine. Then divide this blue liquid into multiple bowls. Kids can then add drops of various liquids to the bowls. The more vitamin C in a liquid, the paler the blue solution will become.