The primary biological function of vitamin K has long been considered its ability to cause blood clotting, though it is now linked to healthy brain function, coronary-artery health and bone health as well. Ensuring adequate intake of vitamin K in children is essential and easy to do by preparing recipes filled with natural sources of this important nutrient.
Adequate Intake Guidelines
According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake of vitamin K in the U.S. varies based on sex, age and other circumstances. The Oregon State University Micronutrient Information Center suggests adequate intake is two micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K for infants up to six months, 2.5 mcg for infants seven to 12 months, 30 mcg for children one to three years old, 55 mcg for children four to eight, 60 mcg for children nine to 13 and 75 mcg for adolescents 14 to 18.
Foods rich in vitamin K include green, leafy vegetables and those high in soybean or other vegetable oils. Feed your children artichokes, asparagus, green beans, mustard and other greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, okra, peas, rhubarb, sauerkraut and spinach. Fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, grapes, kiwi and prunes are good as well. Surprising sources of vitamin K include graham cracker or standard pie crusts, tuna packed in oil and ready-to-serve spaghetti sauce.
Ensure children receive adequate vitamin K each day by planning menus that include several of these foods. Possibilities include spaghetti served with prepared sauce, celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter, green vegetables, salads and fresh fruits. Other possibilities include tuna salad prepared with tuna packed in oil, coleslaw made with fresh cabbage and carrots or broccoli slaw.
Sample Recipe: Fruit Pizza
Kid-friendly recipes such as this are easy to find and prepare and will ensure that kids eat and enjoy a variety of vitamin-K enriched meals.
One package of ready-made sugar cookie dough
One 8-oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
One kiwi, sliced
One cup strawberries, sliced
One banana, sliced
One cup blueberries
One cup grapes, halved
Preheat your oven to 350° F (175° C). Press the dough onto the pizza pan until it is flat and touches the sides of pan. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Spread on the cooled crust. Arrange the fruit on top and chill completely. This recipe makes 10 servings.