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Friday, August 28, 2015

Healthy Kids: Filling in Nutritional Gaps

When it comes to parenting people are passionate about many different things. I'd say most people would consider me to be "hardcore" about Jesus, sleep, and car seat safety. Those are probably my Top 3 "parenting passions" if you will (although if making memories counts then that's totes one too!). 

Healthy eating is a very confusing area. You can find a billion books and blog posts and articles and journals with a billion different opinions. When it comes to healthy eating in our home my motto is "Do my best and don't stress the rest." I'm far from perfect in the area of healthy eating. We don't "eat clean." I don't buy a whole lot of organic fruits and veggies (all the milk the kids drink is organic but that's about the only organic thing we buy). However, I personally am happy with the balance we have. We limit junk and do our best to give our children the healthiest options possible at each meal. Healthy eating is expensive and I'm about finding that balance of giving my kids the healthiest options without going against our spending smart plans. If you want to see how we grocery shop I did a post about our monthly shopping here.  I also don't mind my children enjoying a sweet treat or special snack and we enjoy the occasional fast food outing...but our regular routine consists of healthy meals made at home (side note but Kye is six and still has yet, to my knowledge, to have any chocolate milk haha they might be a little deprived!).

I breastfeed all my babies so from birth they start taking some sort of supplement to help fill in their nutritional gaps. I know people have varying opinions about vitamins but I am a believer in their importance for a healthy lifestyle. My personal opinion is that it's very difficult to get everything we need from the foods we eat so it just makes logical sense to me to take some daily supplements to help make sure we all get the nutrients we need for our bodies to perform at their best! Everything in this post is based on my own personal experiences and my decisions were made based on research from various sources as well as advice from my children's doctors. 


I have three children who are now 1, 3 ½, and 6. They all take different supplements each day and I get a lot of people asking me what supplements we use for each of them so I thought I'd put it all together in one easy blog post :)

As I mentioned earlier, I breastfeed my babies. I'm still breastfeeding Tess at 1 year old. Our pediatrician discussed with me the importance of vitamin d for breastfed babies. Vitamin D deficiency is a huge issue in our world today and my pediatrician told me they are beginning to link so many health problems to a lack of vitamin d in our diets. Zach's family has a STRONG genetic history of auto immune disease and our doctor told us the best thing we can do for our children to combat that strong genetic history is to make sure they are getting enough vitamin d. If you know me then you know I'm quite the rule follower so I have made sure my kids get the higher end of the recommended daily amount of vitamin d!

Here are the drops I give Tess each day! They are soooooo much better than dealing with the ones I did for the older two (those enfamil ones are so sticky and a huge mess and just a PAIN!). These are one drop a day so I just hold it over my nipple prior to nursing her and wait for a drop to fall out. EASY! And the entire bottle lasts at least a year as I'm still going strong with it :)


 

When Tess was born it was right around back-to-school time and I was super worried about her getting sick. I knew the older two would be bringing a lot of germs home and I wanted to do my best to help prevent sickness for my newborn. I did some research and decided to invest in another daily drop...probiotics. They are "calming drops" but are really just a probiotic. I looked into powder forms but since I was nursing it didn't make sense to go that route. I felt better about doing a drop I could put on my nipple before her feedings. The bottle isn't cheap but it lasts forever (she's a year old now and there's still a ton in it!).

Britt is a trickier age for vitamins as she's 3 and not yet old enough for the ones I give to Kye. I knew I did NOT want to do a gummy type vitamin for her as I've read several bad things about them through various articles and such. I ended up deciding to give her a daily chewable multivitamin marketed specifically for Toddlers. I didn't start these until she was old enough to eat the hard chewable. I really want to make sure my kids get enough of both vitamin d as well as vitamin c. I know that vitamin c really helps prevent sickness. The chewable Britt takes has 40 mg of vitamin c which is in the proper amounts for her age. It also has 600 IU of vitamin d. The max for her age is recommended at a minimum of 600 IU so it has just the right amount. However, our pediatrician recommended for us to aim for the upper limit amounts which for her age is 2,000 IU of vitamin d. When I remember (which isn't always!) I try to add a drop of Tess's vitamin d into Britt's morning cup of milk. That way she gets an extra 400 IU! They are a bit tricky to find although I can usually pick them up at Target!


A big thing I worry about is sickness for my children. We go on a lot of trips and vacations so I'd rather use their days of missing school for FUN instead of sickness ;) My kids are very rarely sick and I truly believe that's a reflection of their healthy diet and consistency in receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals each day. I really wanted to start giving the older kids a probiotic and had a hard time finding something. I tried a power mix-in and they could tell it was in there and hated it! I looked everywhere and finally found a chewable, made for kids, simple ingredient probiotic. It was on the bottom shelf at Publix and if I wasn't looking hard for it I would have totally missed it! I will say it's a LOT cheaper at Publix than on Amazon but you may want to read up on it on Amazon as the reviews are fabulous :) I started giving one to Kye and Britt each day. They enjoy them and the bottle comes with 60 chewables so one bottle lasts me a month!


When Kye turned 4 we went through a lot in learning about his growth as he had some delay issues in that area.  Of course there isn't a whole lot you can do to help your child grow ;) But I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power to best help him. Again, we were told about the importance of supplements. I took in the packages of the chewables Advocare has to offer (Advocare has a medical advisory board and I just really trust their products over any others) and both his growth doctor as well as our pediatrician recommended taking one of each of the three I brought to them each day. Combined they offer an AWESOME boost to his healthy and really fill in the gaps he may be missing from his diet. I do spread them out over the day (he eats one with each meal) and he LOVES them. 

My pediatrician did approve cutting them in half and giving Britt half of each one as well but we are waiting until she turns 4 to start using them. I just personally feel more comfortable following the recommendation on the packaging :) 

After a solid year of taking the supplements each day he grew a significant amount and is no longer considered "delayed." I am NOT saying it's thanks to the supplements, but when I asked the growth doctor about her recommendations for moving forward she highly recommended to continue using them for him. She said "whatever you have done has worked so keep doing it!" The great thing is I already get an awesome discount with Advocare so I know they are a great product and they don't break the bank! 

For breakfast Kye takes the probiotic vitamin mentioned earlier as well as the V100 Tropical Chews (you can learn more about them here). The give him 100% of the daily values for 16 essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. To me, they are the most important one for daily overall health and if we ever got to a point where we could only choose one to give him, this would be the one (which is why I also do it at breakfast!). 



At lunch Kye gets what I consider the second most important chewable: Citrizinc. You can read more about it here! It's basically loaded with stuff to help support a strong immune system. It has vitamin d (200 iu), vitamin c (120 mg) and zinc (3 mg). I feel like with this and the probiotic that his body is getting a great boost to help fight off all the crud at school every day. When Zach and I get sick our kids rarely get sick with us, and if they do it's very mild.


Finally at dinner Kye gets Purple Champs (you can read more about it here!). It's a DHA supplement. DHA is very important in growth and development. Since our concerns were growth related it was a no-brainer and it's great for kids to have DHA supplements as it also helps support the development of the brain, eyes and nervous system. 


Since Kye is getting about 600 IU total each day of vitamin D I will also put a drop of Tess's vitamin d drops in his morning milk too if I think to do it! 

I tried to mention where to buy all the vitamins we give our kids...if you are interested in getting the Advocare ones then you can order them through this site. They aren't a "kid vitamin" and are great for adults too! The recommendation is for ages 4 and up although you may want to check with your doctor if you have children younger than 4. I know many people who give their younger kids half of a chewable :) 

They are also on special right now until Sept 1st! (I'm about to stock up myself!) I joined the membership early on with Advocare so I could get a discount on my product purchases and man I'm thankful for that savings each month! The membership works like a Sam's Club. It's $79 to join and you will receive 3 boxes of spark and also a 20% discount off all your purchases. You can earn up to a 40% off discount and once you reach each discount level you are set at that level for LIFE. I'm at the 40% off and it's pretty awesome to have such a large savings on products we love! If you're interested in joining the membership you can do so here! I'm also available to answer any questions and you can email me at: journeyofphood@gmail.com 

Writing this post made me really realize just how much I do believe in supplements for my kids and how much I do think it helps their overall health. They are very proactive about it as well. I have little drawer dividers in the kitchen with all of Kye's advocare vitamins and he and Britt both know which one he takes at each meal and she will often get it for him if I forget :) I was always a picky eater growing up and had a TERRIBLE diet up until a few years ago. Like I found one of my "diet journals" the other night and Zach and I cracked up. One day my food intake consisted of: cinnamon toast crunch, nerds, reese's, peanut butter crackers, and milk. Legit. That was it! I'm truly so thankful for the opportunity to learn more about health and to raise my kids to be healthy eaters and to see the value in a healthy lifestyle! 

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