Should Your Child Take A Vitamin?

| Pregnancy & Parenting

If you have a picky eater in your family, you may be worried about your child getting enough healthy vitamins and minerals from food. When they won't touch anything green or a food that remotely looks like a vegetable, you may need to consider supplementing vitamins in your child's diet.

Kid Taking Vitamin

Ideally, children should eat nutrient-dense foods high in vitamins and minerals, including vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. In a perfect world, it's possible that your child could get all necessary vitamins and minerals from food. But your world is likely not perfect and just getting your child to look at a healthy food is a small victory.

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Experts are divided on whether or not a child actually needs a vitamin supplement, however. Some say that if a child is growing normally and eating nutritious foods, a supplement is not needed. In this school of thinking, it's important to consume vitamins and minerals with whole foods that contain fats, protein, fiber and other nutrients for maximum absorption. Other experts look at a vitamin as insurance for good health when a child's diet may be lacking. In these critical years of development, it is necessary to boost vitamin and mineral consumption to aid healthy growth.

Many parents make a multivitamin a routine for their children. Be sure to select a high-quality vitamin, with help from your child's doctor, that is right for your child. It's important to look for vitamins that use whole foods and ingredients. Multivitamins should use the correct forms of the natural vitamin, such as beta carotene instead of vitamin A. Iron is a critical mineral and should be included in a child's multivitamin. Additional important vitamins and minerals include vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium. Avoid choosing a vitamin high in sugar or artificial flavors or colors.

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Most importantly, your child's vitamin should be kid-friendly. Chewable vitamins are easiest for kids to consume, and they are more likely to take their vitamin without a fuss if it's tasty, too. Vitamins should contain some or all of the recommended dietary allowance. It's very important to follow the dosage listed on the container. Children can overdose on vitamins!

Be sure to talk to your child's pediatrician to determine which, if any, vitamin is right for your child.