Nutritional supplements for kids are a highly debated topic. While ideally children get all the body-loving vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, phyto-nutrients, and essential fatty acids from their wholesome, well-balanced non-toxic diet, we all know that’s not always the case. Between our grab-n-go meal plans and increasingly picky eaters, kids don’t always eat the way we wish they did. And let’s face it, we don’t always offer the healthiest choices either. That’s when nutritional supplements for kids can be useful.
This week we’re reviewing the leading traditional nutritional supplements for kids as well as some off-the-beaten-path options you may want to consider.
To Supplement or Not to Supplement
Keep in mind that your child may not need a nutritional supplement at all. If you’re unsure, consult your pediatrician as your doctor may want to test for deficiencies before you begin a new supplement regimen. However, if your child is on a restrictive diet due to allergies or personal lifestyle choices (like vegetarianism, veganism or dairy-free), has physical growth issues, or has a chronic disease, a daily supplement is probably a good choice. Also, parents of kids who don’t consume a well-balanced diet, eat lots of fast food, or drink carbonated sodas that strip away nutrients should consider supplements as well.
Traditional Nutritional Supplements for Kids
If you plan to implement a nutritional supplement for your kiddos, a multi-vitamin is a good choice. Alternatively you can pick and choose the supplements you want for your kids by going for one-ingredient capsules, powders, gels or oils. The most common traditional nutritional supplements for kids include:
- Vitamin A: This antioxidant supports the immune system and promotes healthy eyes and skin, in addition to normal bodily functions. Vitamin A is found in eggs, dairy products and many bright yellow and orange vegetables.
- Vitamins B: The B-complex vitamins are crucial for the metabolism, nervous system and circulatory system. Kids usually get Vitamin B from all types of meat, eggs, beans and nuts.
- Vitamin C: Another important antioxidant immune booster, Vitamin C is also needed for skin, tissue and muscle growth. It is common in citrus fruits, tomatoes and green vegetables.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D goes hand in hand with calcium to support bone development and it helps with the absorption of other essential nutrients. It is found in fatty fish, diary products and sunlight.
- Calcium: Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Children ages 1 to 18 should get 2 to 4 servings of calcium daily, depending on their age. Calcium is found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as soy products.
- Iron: Iron is critical for the production of red blood cells and muscle growth. Your kids can get iron from beef, turkey, beans, spinach and prunes.
- DHA: DHA is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that supports cognition, focus and proper organ function. DHA is naturally found in fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
Stick around later this week as we share less common nutritional supplements for kids.
Sources: Wellness Mama, LiveStrong, Medical News Today, WebMD, ChildrensMD and Mayo Clinic