Healthy Kids' Snack Ideas for Vitamin C

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http://www.QualityCateringforKids.com Healthy children need Vitamin C to ward off illnesses, have stronger bones and teeth, and help bruises and scrapes heal more quickly.

Foods rich in Vitamin C also help reduce kids' stress-related cravings for junk food.

Studies have found that citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits can also help with your child's weight. Citrus works to inhibit the accumulation of fat which leads to gaining weight. So if you're worried about childhood obesity, keep Vitamin C-rich foods in mind.

Quality Catering for Kids recommends you feed your children the following fruits that are the highest sources of Vitamin C. We've included some fun facts about each fruit to help you understand why they are a nutritious kid-approved treat, as well as a low-fat snack that keeps their bodies healthy.

Cantaloupe:

--It's an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as Vitamin A. About a quarter of a cantaloupe, or roughly 6 ounces, provides 100 percent of the U.S. recommended daily allowance of each vitamin for adults.

--It's high in fiber and folacin, a nutrient needed for growth and to develop hemoglobin.

--Cantaloupe has no fat or cholesterol, great for parents concerned about overweight kids.

--It has about 50 calories in a 6-ounce serving.

--About a quarter cup of cantaloupe provides about 15 milligrams of Vitamin C needed for children ages 2 and 3. About 25 milligrams are needed for kids 4 to 8. Kids 9 to 13 need about 45 milligrams a day and can get more than that in one whole orange, which provides 67.9 milligrams.

Oranges:

--Oranges are a good source of folate or folic acid which helps in the proper development of the brain.

--Eating one orange a day, which contains dietary fiber, folate and herperidin, helps children keep their cardiovascular systems healthy.

--A compound found in oranges and other citrus fruits, called D-limonene has been found to be effective in the prevention of some cancers such as skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer and colon cancer.

--The high Vitamin C content also acts as an anti-oxidant that protects cells from damage by free radicals.

--Oranges are also rich in calcium, which helps maintain bone and teeth health.

Kiwi:

--Kiwi includes more vitamins and minerals per gram, and per calorie, than most other fruits.

--There's twice as much Vitamin C in kiwi as there is in an orange.

--It's touted as a natural digestive for children and can eliminate that bloated feeling.

--Kiwi will give your kids all the antioxidants they need daily.

--It will help the immune system and can prevent inflammation, stress and keep children from getting sick because of bacteria and viruses.

--It's a good source of carotenoid lutein which means it can help to prevent age-related deterioration of eyesight.

Mango:

--Research by Oklahoma State University shows including mango in the diet could help reduce body fat and control blood sugar.

--Mangoes help unclog pores and eliminate pimples.

--The high amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A in mangoes, plus 25 different kinds of carontenoids, keep children's immune systems healthy.

--Mangoes help normalize insulin levels in the blood. The mango's low glycemic index means it won't spike kids' sugar levels.

--The fiber helps digestion and elimination.

Berries:

--Blueberries rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants. One cup delivers 14 percent of the recommended daily dose of fiber and nearly a quarter of the recommended intake of

Vitamin C.

--They help promote urinary tract health.

--Strawberries protect kids' hearts, lower blood pressure and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

--They have no sodium, no fat and are low in calories. About eight strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange.

-- Raspberries contain about 50% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.

Watermelon:

--Even though it hasn't been proven to directly prevent unwanted weight, watermelon has a very low calorie-to-nutrient ratio, which means it's ideal for kids who need to lose weight.

--Some of the amino acids in watermelon contribute to relaxation of blood vessels, which may help keep blood pressure at healthy levels.

--It's a natural diuretic and helps increase urination.

At Quality Catering for Kids, our typical lunch provides an average of one-half to 100 percent of the dietary guidelines of Vitamin C for children in the child care centers and pre-schools we serve in Wisconsin and Illinois. You can see our sample menus at http://qualitycateringforkids.com/menu.php. Our kitchen is USDA-inspected daily.

Have we convinced you that food rich in Vitamin C contribute to excellent nutrition for kids? Tell us in the Comments section which fruits your kids like best. Have they tasted mangoes or papaya? Do they prefer certain types of berries? Have you introduced them to those cute little clementines? Do you combine any of these Vitamin C fruits with other types of healthy food?