The lazy, hazy days of summer are still upon us, but parents all know what it coming on the horizon: school days. And, that also means school lunches to make. When you’re doing your lunch planning, you want to be sure to include plenty of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C And Kids
Children’s body’s are still forming and growing, and Vitamin C plays a key role in the development of some of the body’s systems.
- It is essential to the development of collagen, a protein that is a crucial structural component of skin, blood vessels, cartilage, and muscles.
- It helps to repair red blood cells, bones, gums, and other tissues.
- It is an essential element of many of the chemical signals (or neurotransmitters) created by the nervous system.
- It plays a role in the breakdown of fatty acids in the body.
- It helps the body absorb iron from the foods we eat.
Vitamin C is also a key component of the body’s immune cells, and research studies have confirmed its role in supporting the immune system – particularly in conjunction with zinc. Lack of these nutrients has harmed both the physical and mental development of young children.
The human body cannot produce its own supply of Vitamin C, and so all of it must come from the foods we eat. Luckily, lemons and other citrus fruits, along with a variety of vegetables and fruits, are excellent sources of this very important vitamin.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin C varies by age.
- 1 to 3 years old – 15mg
- 4 to 8 years old – 25mg
- 9 to 13 years old – 45mg
- 14 to 18 years old (boys) – 75mg
- 14 to 18 years old (girls) – 65mg
As a point of reference, a medium sized orange contains about 70mg of Vitamin C, and there’s about 30mg in a medium sized lemon.
Adding a healthy dose of Vitamin C to a lunch box is as easy as adding an orange or grapefruit. But, you can also get creative to give them lunches that are both tasty and nutritious.
- Make a citrus salad with a variety of fruits and a lemon or orange based vinaigrette;
- Add a slice of orange to a sandwich instead of tomato for a tasty surprise;
- Lemon and orange peel packs a Vitamin C powerhouse – sprinkle a little on a cheese sandwich, or in yogurt, for a tangy flavor punch;
- Make homemade lemonade or lemon iced tea to drink – that lets you control how much sugar is added too.
Use your imagination and help your kids’ healthy development.