Worrying about whether your child is getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals is common for parents, especially if you have a fussy eater or are trying to avoid illness.
Vitamin supplements have come along way in appeal factor and with the new chewable and gummy style doses and it can be tempting to use these as a “backup” for peace of mind.
However, according to experts, if your child is healthy and consuming a balanced diet they shouldn’t need any additional supplements.
In fact, it’s actually possible for kids to get too much of some vitamins and minerals (A, D, E & K + iron) and they can get sick if they consume large doses. This is why it’s a good idea to keep vitamins out of reach of children and never refer to them as lollies or treats.
What vitamins and minerals do kids need?
There are an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are important for kids, but some of the essential ones for development are:
|Good Sources||Important For|
|Vitamin A||Liver, carrots, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, apricots, butter, cheese, eggs.||Tissue and bone repair. Healthy skin, eyes and immune system.|
|B-Group Vitamins||Red meat, chicken fish, nuts, leafy greens, eggs, milk, cheese, beans and whole grains.||Metabolism and energy. Healthy circulation and nervous system.|
|Vitamin C||Citrus, strawberries, kiwi, capsicum, tomatoes, broccoli.||Builds and regenerate tissue, bones, muscles, blood vessels and skin. Helps iron absorption.|
|Vitamin D||Exposure to sunlight. Milk and fatty fish.||Strong bones and muscles. Helps calcium absorption.|
|Calcium||Milk, cheese, yoghurt, tofu and leafy greens.||Bone strength and development.|
|Iron||Red meat, leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, dark chocolate.||Muscle development and health red blood cells.|
When are supplements helpful?
Supplements can play a role in ensuring a child gets the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy development but should never replace as healthy, balanced diet. After periods of sickness or poor dietary intake a supplement can provide some benefit.
Long-term medication or chronic illness may prevent your child from getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements as some medications may be effected.
Likewise, if your child is eating a vegetarian or vegan diet or if you are having problems getting your child to eat a wide range of healthy foods (beyond normal toddler fussiness), it’s best to consult a health practitioner before relying on vitamins and supplements to fill the gap.
While a supplement may seem like an easy and effective way to “top up” kids with the necessary vitamins and minerals, it’s also very important to teach children about the importance of healthy food to fuel healthy bodies.
If you are looking for ways to encourage your child to eat more healthy food, here are some great tips other School Mums have shared.