In a previous post, I promised I would pass along more information foods high in zinc. Zinc is mineral important for growth, and one that Henry’s dietician was wondering if he was getting enough of. Because Henry’s homemade blended food contains both oil and molasses as sources of energy, it is important to ensure that the veggies, fruits, grains and meats included pack a powerful nutritional punch. He doesn’t eat a huge “volume” of food, so getting a well balanced diet into what he does eat is vital.
At our last check-in with Ali, our “angel” dietician, Henry weight was increasing faster than his height… a possible indication of an under-balanced menu. Thus… she inquired about his zinc intake.
I, of course, had absolutely no idea!
I am a firm believer in the “Grandma-inspired” philosphy of having a colourful plate – if there’s lots of colour on your plate, then bets are you’ve got your nutrition covered (assuming the colour isn’t coming from different flavours of potato chips!).
According to the Dieticians of Canada document Ali sent, zinc is needed in small amount each day for optimum health, and it can be found in a variety of foods. It also helps the body “use carbohydrates, protein and fat, strengthens the immune system and heals wounds heal”. Given Henry’s age, he needs between 3 – 7 mg of zinc per day. The best sources for zinc are seafood, meat, seeds, and cooked dried beans, lentils and peas. Looking at a typical menu for Henry, it seems he may or may not be getting his minimum 3 mg per day.
Here’s an example, using the amounted listed on the “Sources of Zinc” chart from Health Canada:
1/2 cup quinoa – not listed on Ali’s chart, but according to another website it is an excellent source of zinc with between 2-2.8 m pg per 1/2 cup
1/2 cup wild rice – 1.2 mg
1/2 cup pears – not listed
1/2 cup banana – not listed
1/2 cup tomato – not listed
1/2 cup broccoli – not listed
*** the only fruits and veggies listed on the Health Canada chart are heart of palm, cabbage and mushrooms
Meat & Alt.
1/4 cup chickpeas – 0.3 mg
1 boiled egg – 0.5 mg
1 cup rice milk – 1.1 mg, according to the Ryza package
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs molasses
Based on this quick calculation, Henry is getting between 3-7 mg of zinc most days. However, on days that he doesn’t have any quinoa in his food, he may be falling short. On these days, it’s important to ensure he has meat – beef or poulty – to make up the shortfall.
All of this just reaffirms my belief that lots of variety is the key. Henry’s little tummy has difficulty digesting a number of foods, but I still try to squeeze in as many colours as I can!
Source: Health Canada, “Canadian Nutrient File 2007b”