While many parents worry that their children aren't getting the right nutrients for proper overall growth, many also overlook the specific need of vitamins and nutrients for eye health. If their child's vision is OK, then there's no cause for worry. In fact, only 14 percent of parents are worried about their children developing vision problems in the future, according to a recent survey by Kelton/DSM Nutritional Products.
Now's the time to help children make food choices that are healthy and provide the right nutrients for their eye health. While carrots are a no-brainer when it comes to providing beta carotene (pro vitamin A) for healthy vision, a slew of other nutrients are necessary for eye health, including vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin and the omega-3s DHA and EPA.
If you have a picky eater, try sneaking in foods that are rich in these eye-healthy nutrients. Dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens), eggs, broccoli, peas and corn are super stars when it comes to providing lutein and zeaxanthin. Fatty fish provide the omega-3s DHA and EPA. Oils, wheat germ and peanuts are loaded with vitamin E.
Registered dietitian and author, Elizabeth Somer, provides ideas on how to sprinkle in these nutrients into everyday meals.
Idea 1: Whip steamed chard or spinach into mashed potatoes to make a healthy and eye-catching dish for your kids that is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Green mashed potatoes, anyone?
Idea 2: Grate carrots and add them to pasta sauce to give it a boost of beta carotene.
Idea 3: Barring any nut allergies, blend peanut butter, wheat germ and a bit of honey to use as a fruit dip or sandwich spread. The peanuts and wheat germ add a kick of vitamin E.
Idea 4: If your kids won't eat fish to get their fill of omega-3s, look for foods, beverages and supplements fortified with fish oil or a vegetarian source of DHA from algae.