Zinc is a mineral that is known for helping the immune system. People often take it to prevent colds and flu, and giving it to your child might help you avoid sick days down the road. Zinc has also been known to promote brain development, appetite control and sexual development. Children of all ages need zinc, although the recommended daily intake increases with age. Give your child the zinc he needs with vitamin supplements and with food alternatives that naturally contain zinc.
Vitamins with Zinc
There are a variety of children's vitamins on the market that contain zinc. Gummy vitamins are a popular choice that contain the daily recommended dose of zinc for children younger than four, and half the amount for older children. Kids love them because they are candy-like. Hard, chewable vitamins that are shaped like popular cartoon characters also contain enough zinc for children to get more than half of their daily value of zinc. If your child does not like chewing vitamins, purchase them in liquid form.
Give your child a healthy intake of zinc with a variety of meat products. Oysters are the food highest in zinc. While oysters are not ideal as a quick food at home and many children might be averse to oysters, try ordering them in a restaurant if your child is not allergic. Your child just might love the slimy texture. Alternatively, you can try frying the oysters or hiding them in an oyster casserole. Roast beef and mutton are also very high in zinc. Make either choice for dinner and use the leftovers for a zinc-packed sandwich to take to school. Add a ranch dressing to flavor the cold meat.
Make sure your child gets enough zinc by feeding her legumes, such as chickpeas and peanuts. Hummus is a tasty and and easy way to get kids to eat chickpeas. If your child is not so fussy, try a chickpea salad with green onions and creamy dressing. Peanuts, as long as your child is not allergic, make a great snack, and light peanut butter is a perennial favorite of children.
Grains and Seeds
Zinc is also present in grains such as wheat germ and sesame seeds. Toasted wheat germ is available packaged and is full of nutrients. Sprinkle it onto a salad, rice or vegetables, or mix it into a creamy salad dressing to make a delicious, zinc-filled vegetable dip. Your child will probably not even notice it is there. Tahini is usually present in hummus and is made with sesame seeds. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc. Roast them with salt for a delicious snack.