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Nutrition to Help Your Child Grow Taller

by Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

Being the shortest one in class can be tough for some kids, and as a mom you want to do anything you can to make him feel better. Unfortunately, your child's height largely depends on his genetics. But you can help him along by providing him with foods that contain the nutrients his body needs to help him reach his full height potential.

Milk

No doubt about it, milk does a body good. Children need calcium and vitamin D to support bone growth, and milk is a one-stop shop acting as a good source for both nutrients. Just three servings of milk or milk products a day -- like cheese or yogurt -- meets nearly 100 percent of your child's daily needs for calcium and vitamin D. So instead of juice or soda, give your kids milk to drink with meals. Add a little chocolate sauce if you need to; the milk's goodness offsets the extra sugar.

Fruits and Veggies

You may not think of fruits and veggies as foods that will help your children grow taller, but getting enough vitamin A and C also helps make sure your kids grow to their full potential. Children need three to five servings of fruits and veggies a day. To meet those needs, offer a fruit or veggie at each meal or snack. Add sliced strawberries to your child's breakfast cereal, pack red pepper slices and a single serving of creamy dip with lunch, steam some broccoli for dinner and drizzle on some creamy dressing and make a yummy fruit salad for dessert.

Whole Grains

Grains are high in carbohydrates, providing your children with their primary source of fuel. Getting enough energy, as in calories, is essential for normal growth. Offer mostly whole grains to maximize nutrient intake. Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, all essential nutrients your child needs to grow taller. In addition to whole-wheat bread and oatmeal, explore new whole grains such as quinoa or barley.

Protein

Like calories, getting enough protein is also an important component of normal growth. Protein foods tend to be a good source of zinc, another essential nutrient your child needs to grow taller. Offer protein-packed foods such as poultry, fish, ground meat and pork chops. Beans are also good sources of protein and zinc; add chickpeas to the dinner salad or black beans to the rice for some extra growing power.

About the Author

Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.

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