Give Your Child’s Diet a Vitamin D Boost
New public health advice has recommended all children and babies* take a Vitamin D supplement in a bid to protect their bone and muscle health.
While the sun is our bodies’ main source of Vitamin D, it’s especially hard for children to get enough from sunlight alone throughout the year. Here, dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, provides her advice on how to give your child’s diet a vitamin D boost.
“A balanced diet can provide your child all the nutrients they need, except enough vitamin D. Very few foods are natural sources of vitamin D so it’s important to focus on fortified foods and supplements in order to increase current intakes of vitamin D in children, which are currently woefully low.”
Dr Carrie’s 3 top tips for vitamin D
- Eat oily fish once or twice a week, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring or trout. If your children are fussy about fish, try offering a fish pie made with a combination of oily fish and white fish, or salmon fish cakes as these have a milder flavour. Starting young greatly improves children’s acceptance of fish so don’t be afraid to try boneless fish as a weaning food after your baby reaches 6 months of age.
- Fortified dairy foods, such as Petits Filous fromage frais, are typically enjoyed by children and are a good source of vitamin D and calcium, both of which are vital for bone development.
- Cereals are often fortified with vitamin D, particularly ones aimed at children, but it does vary so check the label. Choose cereals that are low in sugar and high in wholegrain for an extra win-win.
*The new Public Health England recommendation is for 10 micrograms per day of vitamin D from age 1 year onwards (8.5 to 10 micrograms from birth to 11 months).
My toddler is a very fussy eater and has fair skin so is sensitive to the sun. We use high SPF when we’re out and avoid the midday sun so we probably don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun. I give her supplements just in case and make sure she eats food fortified with vitamin D several times a day. She loves little yoghurts and fromage frais and cereals too. I’ve not been able to convince her to eat fish yet, but we’re working on that!