Children & Teenagers

The B vitamin folate is needed for proper growth and development. It is important that children and teenagers get plenty of folate every day.

Children Need Folate Everyday

The Institute of Medicine has established the following Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for folate:

Age Group Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Micrograms DFE* per day
Infants (0-6 months) 65**
Infants (7-12 months) 80**
Children (1-3 years) 150
Children (4-8 years) 200
Children (9-13 years) 300

Source: Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington DC, 1998.
*DFE = dietary folate equivalents
**Adequate Intake value

Ways for Children to Get Folate

Some foods contain the natural form of the vitamin. These folate-rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Strawberries and orange juice also have folate. Beans such as navy, pinto, and kidney beans have folate, too. Enriched grain foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice have been fortified with folic acid. These foods taste good and provide the nutrients needed for healthy, growing kids. Your child can also get folic acid in a multivitamin. Most multivitamins contain folic acid (check the Nutrition Facts panel).

Here are some easy and fun ways to include folate-rich foods in your child's diet:

  • Freeze 100% orange juice and make juice pops.
  • Spear strawberries and cheese cubes on toothpicks for a fun finger food.
  • Mix up a low-fat dip. Cut up raw vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, carrots, orange segments, and strawberries. Spear fruits and veggies on toothpicks for dipping.
  • Use pinto, kidney or black beans in burritos or wrap sandwiches. Let kids make the wraps themselves for a fun cooking experience.
  • Choose darker green lettuce or greens, like romaine, green leaf, or spinach for salads or sandwiches.
  • Have peanuts for a snack (if a peanut allergy is not an issue).
  • Blend up a healthy smoothie.
  • Combine a higher fiber cereal with folic acid, peanuts, and dried fruit such as raisins or banana chips to make a tasty trail mix. (Do NOT include peanuts if your child has a peanut allergy.)

Boys swimming

Girl playing softball

Folate is needed for proper growth and development. Teenage girls should get in the habit NOW of making sure they get plenty of folate every day.

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