Whimsical Winter Nutrient - Vitamin D
Welcome to the winter wonderland of 2018, filled with shiver-inducing cold air and plenty of shimmery fresh snow! With this cold season upon KC, parents need to keep an eye on a certain nutrient need. To keep kiddos healthy, look on the sunny side of the whimsical winter nutrient, vitamin D!
Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is made naturally from adequate exposure to sunlight and also from a select number of foods. Because the sun may not always be shining in wintertime, proper nutrition ensures your family gets enough of this crucial nutrient.
Bone Health: When teaming up with calcium and phosphorus, vitamin D helps make your kiddo’s bones and teeth stronger.
Absorption: Vitamin D plays a significant role helping both calcium and phosphorus absorb properly. Without vitamin D’s helping hand, these two minerals could not function.
Maintenance: This vitamin is essential for children’s normal growth and development. Overall gene metabolism also relies on it.
Natural sources: Milk, egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms, salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, herring, beef liver and butter.
Fortified sources: Soy, almond, rice, oats, goat’s milk, orange juice, breakfast cereal, yogurt and margarine.
Children and teens require 600 International Units (IUs) per day.
Sample Daily Menu to Pack in the Whimsical Vitamin D
*Strive to follow this delicious, vitamin D-rich daily meal plan, or opt for your kiddo to simply pick a few items to include.
1 c. orange juice = 100 IUs
1 c. whole wheat, ready-to-eat cereal with 8 oz. milk = 150 IUs
2 eggs (scrambled, poached or hard-boiled) = 50 IUs
3 oz. tuna fish canned in water* = 154 IUs
1 slice Swiss cheese = 6 IUs
*Serve on whole wheat bread spread with mustard and mayo, and topped with lettuce and tomato.
6 oz. yogurt = 80 IUs
Salmon fillet = 400 IUs
*Grill and spice the fillet with lemon and pepper and serve with steamed whole grain rice and veggies.
1 c. warm milk = 100 IUs
3 oz. cheddar cheese with whole grain crackers = 3 IUs
Whimsical Winter Vitamin D-Rich Recipe: Berry & Nola Yogi Bark
Experiment with this winning recipe or just take it from Arthur, Lee’s Summit resident and dad of four boys: “My children seriously crave this snack all day and every day. Plus, it’s nice knowing that they’re getting in a nutrient-dense winning treat.”
- 24-oz. container of Greek yogurt (vanilla or plain)
- 2 t. honey
- 1 c. berries, sliced
- 1 c. granola
In a small bowl (or even in the yogurt container), mix together honey and yogurt. Spread the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan that has been covered in aluminum foil. Sprinkle the strawberries and granola over the top of the yogurt, slightly pressing it into the yogurt with your hands.
Freeze for about one hour, or until completely frozen. Remove from freezer and cut into about 12 slices. Serve immediately.
*Keep in freezer in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 30 days.
Now, have your kid smile and shine on with vitamin D!
Easy Cheesy Tuna Melt Bites
Loaded with vitamin D from the tuna, cheese, and egg yolks, these bites are ideal to bring to in school lunches or for fast after school snacks.
- 1 5-oz. tuna can (packed in water, drained well)
- ¾ c. whole milk
- 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ t. salt
- ¼ t. onion powder
- 2/3 c. sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to350°F. Coat 2 mini muffin tins with nonstick spray or fill mini cupcake liners coated with nonstick spray. Whisk together the tuna, milk, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt and onion powder in a large bowl. Fill muffins tins ¾ full with mixture and op with sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
These scrumptious healthy bites can be enjoyed eaten hot, warm, or cold. I happily suggest always having these on hand.
Amy Hundley is a registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed in both Kansas and Missouri, and a published freelance nutrition writer. She currently practices as a clinical RD and has been a resident of Olathe since early childhood. Amy can be contacted at @ email@example.com.
Sources: EatRight.org, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Institute of Medicine, USDA