In recognition of National Folic Acid Awareness Week (January 8-14), check out these facts about folic acid, as well as some fun and easy folate-rich foods, that your kids are sure to enjoy.
Folic acid (also known as vitamin folacin, folate, tetrahydrofolic acid, tetrahydropteroylglutamic acid, and THF) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important part in cell division, the creation of cells in the blood-forming organs and bone marrow, and in the proper development of the fetal spinal cord and brain during pregnancy. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age consume about 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.
Like many vitamins, folate is needed by children for proper growth and development. This critical nutrient is found in some green, leafy vegetables, most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and enriched grain foods such as cereal, bread, pasta and rice.
To ensure your kids are getting folate in their diet, try these easy snacks:
- Cut up fresh vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, carrots, oranges and strawberries; serve with a yummy, low-fat dip.
- Use kidney, pinto, or black beans in wraps or burritos. Have the kids create their own wraps!
- Freeze orange juice and make juice pops.
- Make a tasty salad. Include darker green lettuce or greens such as romaine, green leaf, or spinach.
- Make a refreshing smoothie using orange and strawberries, among other fruits of your choice.
- Make trail mix by combining a higher fiber cereal with folic acid, peanuts (if your child is not allergic to peanuts), and dried fruit such as raisins or banana chips.