Children who are picky eaters can sometimes be a concern to their parents, who want them to benefit from all the nutrients they need in order to grow up healthy. Should you be giving your children vitamin supplements?
There is no consensus as to whether children should take a multivitamin on a regular basis. Vitamin and mineral supplements are useful and affordable, but they only contain part of the nutrients derived from a varied diet. In addition, many common foods – such as cereals, milk and many juices – are fortified with several essential nutrients. So your child may be getting more vitamins than you think.
A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean meat and fish, but low in animal fat and refined sugar, is recommended for children just as it is for adults. You may have more luck reaching this goal by varying the way you present these foods and by occasionally daring to veer off the culinary beaten path. If your children eat very little fruit, for example, you could prepare smoothies using fruit and milk or low-fat yogurt. Soups are also a good way to sneak in vegetables and protein.
If your child suffers from a developmental delay, eating disorder, allergies or a chronic disease, or has a restricted diet (e.g. strict vegetarianism), a multivitamin may be advisable. Discuss the matter with your doctor or pharmacist. In the case of healthy children, multivitamins are rarely necessary, even when dealing with picky eaters. If you wish, consulting a nutritionist could help you determine exactly what your children are eating and how to improve their diet.
Also bear in mind that it’s possible to take too many multivitamins! In order to avoid problems, apply these precautions:
- Make sure your multivitamins are intended for the right age group. - Keep them out of the reach of children and make sure your kids know they’re not candy. - Don’t use multivitamins as a replacement for healthy meals and snacks.
Questions? Speak to your pharmacist!