If you have a youngin at home, you already know the struggle of meal time. Kids can be notoriously picky which makes trying to get nutritious, balanced meals into them feel like tackling Mount Everest. Enter kid-friendly vitamins to help ease your mind.
Are Vitamins Safe For Kids?
While dietary supplements should not be the first line of defense for children, or adults, they are safe when used as directed and can help fill in any nutritional gaps and promote healthy growth in our ever-so-picky eaters.
How Could Kids Benefit From Vitamins and Minerals?
It’s okay you are on the fence about giving your child a vitamin and mineral supplement. It’s important to get as many nutrients as possible from food but unfortunately, this can become difficult at one point or another. Below are some ways your child may benefit from taking a vitamin and mineral supplement.
1. Healthy Development
Growing children require a lot. If they are missing out on certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, or calcium, it can negatively impact their growth and development.
That’s not to say that all children need a vitamin and mineral supplement to thrive, but rather that it’s important to identify those who may be lacking in some of these nutrients early so that their development is not affected.
For example, if you recognize your child does not eat any dairy products or is picky when it comes to meat, you may want to consider a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure they are getting enough of the nutrients mentioned above, along with many others.
2. Fill in Nutritional Gaps
Even if you can’t identify a specific nutrient that may be lacking in your child's diet, it can be comforting to include a vitamin and mineral supplement to help fill any nutritional gaps.
It can be tough to know what exactly our kids are eating and how much. A supplement can ensure they aren't missing out on anything valuable.
3. Improved Energy
Kids who are meeting their nutrient needs will have higher energy levels. While that may not seem ideal for those struggling with energetic kids already, it can be a gift for those who have been concerned. If you have a little one who doesn’t seem to keep up with their peers or siblings and you aren’t sure why, it might be due to their diet.
A diet low in iron-rich foods, for example, can cause anemia in growing children which shows up as fatigue. Children who aren’t getting adequate B vitamins may also experience low energy levels and other symptoms [1, 2].
4. Increased Immunity
If the above benefits haven’t persuaded you, this one likely will. A daily vitamin and mineral supplement for kids can help boost their immune system by ensuring they have the proper nutrients to support their immune function. This means fewer cold and flu viruses are being brought home and passed around.
What are the Best Vitamins for Kids?
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for bone health and immune system functioning. While vitamin D can come from many food sources, including egg yolks, fortified milk, mushrooms, fatty fish, and beef liver, the best source comes from direct exposure to sunlight .
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is stored in our fat tissues. Consuming high amounts of vitamin D in the form of supplements can increase the risk of vitamin toxicity.
If you are concerned if your child is getting enough vitamin D, consider getting their levels checked before incorporating in a supplement, and always be sure you choose one that is made for their age group.
Vitamin C is another essential vitamin for your child's health and development. Vitamin C plays a major role in immune function as well as tissue health. It acts as an antioxidant to help protect our cells from damage .
It also helps improve the absorption of iron, another essential nutrient for growth and development. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of sources including citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes, berries, and peppers.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for brain health. It can only be found in animal food sources which can be a common type of food avoided by picky eaters. Vitamin B12 is important for cognitive development, memory, and concentration .
Iron is an essential mineral for health and development in children. It is responsible for carrying oxygen to cells and plays an essential role in vital enzymes needed for brain health and function. Iron can be found in rich sources in foods such as meats, tofu, eggs, sardines, oysters, spinach, and lentils.
Animal sources of iron are better absorbed but with the addition of vitamin C, plant sources are more bioavailable .
What to Look for When Buying Vitamins for Kids
When choosing a children's vitamin, it’s important to be picky. You want to make sure to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients that may impact their growing bodies.
Avoid vitamin supplements that include artificial flavors, dyes, or sweeteners, and avoid those that contain large amounts of added sugars. This is common in gummy or chewable vitamins for flavor.
Choose vitamin supplements that are from reputable brands that offer third-party testing for quality and purity and ensure they contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals to allow for full nutrient coverage.
For example, our Kid’s Daily Essentials provides 25 essential vitamins and minerals along with an organic veggie blend and 8 grams of high-quality protein from organic milk.
These are the types of products to look for but also be mindful of your child’s needs. It is recommended to discuss potential supplements with your child’s pediatrician prior to adding them to their diet. This is also a good opportunity to test for potential nutrient deficiencies to get more targeted recommendations.