Kids and Supplements: How to Make the Right Choices
Generally speaking, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates should provide all of the nutrients that a child needs every day. But parents know that it isn’t always that simple. Consider giving your children vitamin supplements if they fall in one of these categories.
Picky eater. Your kids’ nutritional needs are definitely being shortchanged if they refuse to eat vegetables or have an aversion to fruits. Also, a child who doesn’t like milk may be missing out on the calcium and vitamin D young bones need to grow strong and healthy. In these cases, a good children’s formula multivitamin should cover all of the bases.
Food allergies. Kids can be allergic to a wide variety of foods (luckily, many kids will outgrow their allergies by the time they reach puberty or adulthood). An allergy to wheat, for example, could mean that your child isn’t getting enough fiber. In this case, a fiber-rich supplement will help to keep their digestive systems regular.
Vegetarian. Young children that decide to go meat-free aren’t always mature enough to make sure they’re getting enough nutrient variety. Many adolescent vegetarians are deficient in minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Potassium is vital for growth and maintenance of the body’s many systems, and magnesium helps the body convert fats and carbohydrates into energy.
Busy schedule. If your child has a full day of classes followed by music lessons, tutoring, extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, or sports, it may be hard for them to eat nutritious meals on a regular basis—that is, if they can find the time to eat three meals a day at all!
In conclusion, it’s never a bad idea to give your child a multivitamin—just make sure that you’re giving them a vitamin that is specially formulated for their age and nutritional needs. Never give a child a vitamin that has been formulated for adult use. Before you give them anything else, or if your child has a medical issue or serious health condition, discuss nutritional supplements with their pediatrician and determine if they can truly benefit and that it’s safe for them to consume.