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Vitamin K for Children

by Jill Corleone, RDN, LD, studioD

Vitamins are tiny substances in food that help keep your body healthy. While you may know that vitamin A is good for your eyes, and vitamin D helps keep bones strong, you may not know much about vitamin K. As the "clot master," vitamin K is needed to help stop the bleeding of scraped knees and elbows. Getting your children to meet their daily vitamin K needs is easy, if you give them the right foods.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means any eaten in excess is stored in the liver. So the good news is that your kids do not have to get vitamin K in their diets every day, but you should aim to include it most days of the week. Vitamin K needs for children vary depending on age, and range from 30 mcg for children aged 1 to 3, up to 60 mcg for children aged 9 to 13. Not only does vitamin K help stop the bleeding of your child's latest cut, it also helps keep bones healthy and strong.

Food Sources

Green leafy vegetables are the best food sources of vitamin K. This includes broccoli, kale, green leaf, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard and watercress. Oils, such as soybean, olive and canola oil, are also good sources of vitamin K. So are some fruits, including blueberries, kiwi, pears, mango, papaya and blackberries.

Vitamin K for Children

You may feel a moment of dread, knowing that the best food sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, and your child turns his nose up when you serve broccoli at dinner. But he doesn't have to eat much to meet his daily needs. In fact, all he needs is 1/4 cup of the cooked trees to meet his daily requirements. You can even saute your broccoli -- or spinach, or whatever other green you are trying to get your children to eat -- in a little soy or canola oil to add flavor and boost vitamin K content.

Fun Snack Foods

Crispy kale is a high-vitamin K food children love. These "chips" make a healthy alternative to potato chips, plus they meet more than 100 percent of your child's daily vitamin K requirements. Like all fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K must be eaten with a bit of fat to be absorbed, so serve some ranch dressing for dipping. You can also make a high-vitamin K fruit salad with blueberries, blackberries, and kiwi. Soy nuts are also vitamin-K rich foods your children might like as an alternative to peanuts.

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.

Photo Credits

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