Choline is a nutrient that is the new kid on the block in the nutrition world - it was only considered a nutrient by the Institute of Medicine in 1998. 

Despite its infancy, it is an extremely vital nutrient for its role in cell membranes, as a precursor to neurotransmitters, platelet activating factor and its role in donating methyl groups to homocysteine. Choline is also vital for lipid and cholesterol transport, making it important for fat metabolism. 

Choline impacts everything from liver function and muscle movement, to healthy brain development, metabolism, and the central nervous system. 

While we now know that choline is an important nutrient, most people are not meeting the recommended intake for this nutrient, especially pregnant women and children. And even more so - fussy eaters. 

How Much Choline Do Kids Really Need?

0-6 months

125mg per day

7-12 months

150mg per day

1-3 years

200 mg per day

4-8 years

250 mg per day

9-13 years

375 mg per day 

Where to get Choline From:

  • Beef liver: 1 slice (2.4 ounces or 68 grams) contains 290 mg.

  • Chicken liver: 1 slice (2.4 ounces or 68 grams) contains 222 mg.

  • Eggs: 1 large hard-boiled egg contains 113 mg.

  • Fresh cod: 3 ounces (85 grams) contain 248 mg.

  • Salmon: A 3.9-ounce (110-gram) fillet contains 62.7 mg.

  • Cauliflower: A 1/2 cup (118 ml) contains 24.2 mg.

  • Broccoli: A 1/2 cup (118 ml) contains 31.3 mg.


While there is some choline in plant foods, it is far less than in animal foods. For example, 68 grams of beef liver contains 290 mg of choline, compared to ½ cup of broccoli which contains 31.3 mg. With the requirement of 125-200mg of choline per day in the first years of life, parents need to be intentional about which foods to include to help meet this requirement. 


What to do if You Have a Fussy Eater?

So what to do if you’ve got a fussy eater on your hands who won’t eat (or is allergic to) eggs, and the thought of fish or *gasp* beef liver make them want to run away and hide? 

You can try to hide egg into other baked goods like muffins or breads, blend fish with other vegetables like broccoli and sweet potato to make nuggets or bites, or try to grate frozen beef liver into beef mince to “hide” the liver and still pack in the nutrients. 

If all else fails, consider supplementing with choline to make sure your child is getting adequate amounts of this vital nutrient. 


Written By Anabelle Harari Clebaner MS, RDN

Brittany Darling