Calling all parents and caregivers!

Looking for healthy snack ideas for your little ones? Well, you've come to the right place!

The Sunshine Vitamin

In school, I have learned a lot about the benefits of the "sunshine vitamin", or vitamin D. Our amazing bodies can make their own vitamin D from the sun, which gives it it's nickname. You can also get vitamin D from foods like eggs (in the yolk) and fatty fish (i.e. salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna). Some foods are even fortified to include vitamin D, like cow's milk, infant formulas, margarine and orange juice to name a few. 

What's the big Deal about vitamin D? Well, kids need enough vitamin D in their diets to keep their bones strong and to help them fight infections. In Canada, we don't get as much sunshine as other parts of the world, so it's important to make sure your kids get enough vitamin D from their diets too. 

Since vitamin D plays such a big role in maintaining proper bone and immune system health, Health Canada actually increased the recommendations for vitamin D (and calcium) in 2010. This means it's even more important to get enough to keep you and your family healthy!

So how much is enough?
  • Infants 0-6 months: RDA = 400 IU (10 mcg), UL = 1000 IU (25 mcg)
  • Infants 7-12 months: RDA = 400 IU (10 mcg), UL = 1500 IU (38 mcg)
  • Children 1-3 years: RDA = 600 IU (15 mcg), UL = 2500 IU (63 mcg)
  • Children 4-8 years: RDA = 600 IU (15 mcg), UL = 3000 IU (75 mcg)
  • Children and adults 9-70 years: RDA = 600 IU (15 mcg), UL = 4000 IU (100 mcg)
*You can find this chart and more information on the Health Canada website

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) gives you an idea of how much vitamin D you and your family should aim for in a day and the Tolerable Upper Intake Level, or UL for short, tells you the amount of vitamin D you should not go over each day. 

You might be wondering what 400 or 600 IUs of vitamin D looks like, so this might help you out:
  • 1 cup of milk = 103 IU
  • 1 cup fortified rice or soy beverage = 88 IU
  • 1/2 cup fortified orange juice = 53 IU
  • 1 egg yolk = 25 IU
  • 75 g trout = 210 IU  
  • 75 g herring = 162 IU
  • 75 g salmon (atlantic) = 246 IU
  • 75 g mackerel = 81 IU
  • 75 g tuna (light or white) = 44 IU
*This can find more info on food sources of vitamin D from British Columbia Health Link

I hope this will help you to make sure your kids get enough of that sunshine vitamin each day to keep their bones strong and healthy!