Vitamins for children – these are the 6 top nutrients!
Written by Kira on November 23, 2018
Children and vitamins
If we believe in advertising, every child needs muesli or gummy bears with vitamins every day. But is that true at all? Not necessarily, the experts agree. Ideally, children should get their vitamins from a balanced, healthy diet that includes:
- Milk and milk products like cheese and yogurt
- Lots of fresh fruit and leafy greens, green vegetables
- Protein such as chicken, fish, meat and eggs
- Vollkorngetre >Which children need vitamin supplements?
Given the reality of time-sensitive parents, these healthy, homemade meals are not always possible. Pediatricians can therefore recommend a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement for the following cases:
- Children who do not eat regular, balanced meals from fresh, whole foods.
- Picky eaters who just don’t eat enough.
- Children with chronic diseases such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they are taking medication. (Be sure to talk to your child’s doctor before you start taking supplements if your child is on medication.)
- Children who eat a lot of fast food, convenience food and processed food.
- Children who are on a vegetarian or vegan diet (they may need an iron supplement), a dairy-free diet (they may need a calcium supplement), or some other restricted diet.
- Children who drink a lot of carbonated soda, which can release vitamins and minerals from their bodies.
The 6 best vitamins for children
The 6 most important vitamins for children and healthy and age-appropriate development are the following:
- Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development, tissue and bone repair as well as healthy skin, eyes and immune reactions. Are good sources Milk, cheese, eggs and yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
- Vitamin Bs. The family of B vitamins – B2, B3, B6 and B12 – supports the metabolism, energy production and the healthy circulatory and nervous system. Are good sources Meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans and soybeans.
- vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue and skin. Are good sources Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes and green vegetables like broccoli.
- Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Are good sources Milk and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
- calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows. Are good sources Milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu and calcium-enriched orange juice.
- iron builds muscle and is essential for healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk during puberty, especially for girls who start menstruation. Are good sources red meat, turkey, spinach, beans and plums.
Megavitamins – high doses of vitamins – are not a good idea for children. The fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E and K) can be toxic if children get too much of them. Even with iron, your children can get too much of a good thing.
Fresh food over finished products
Good nutrition starts with serving a wide range of wholesome, fresh foods. This is far better than eating fast food or ready meals – in the hope that taking children’s vitamins will undo all nutritious no-no’s. You can find most of the vitamins and minerals in foods that are high in carbohydrates and proteins (not fats). By far the most vitamin-rich foods are fresh fruits and vegetables.
To give children more vitamins, aim more variety – not easy eat more. Today, twice as many children are overweight as they were two decades ago, so use child-sized foods that are a quarter to a third the size of adult portions.
Spread the variety of food over several small meals and snacks throughout the day. If your child doesn’t eat certain foods for a few days – like vegetables – don’t get angry. But reintroduce these foods after a day or two, maybe prepared in a different way. The children’s food strikes usually end on their own.
Vitamins and healthy children: 5 tips
If you give your children vitamins, follow these tips:
- Keep the vitamins out of the reach of children so they don’t treat them like candy.
- Try not to fight with your children for food or use desserts as a bribe to "eat their plates". Instead, give your child a chewable vitamin after the meal. Fat-soluble vitamins can only be ingested with food.
- If your child is taking any medication, be sure to ask your child’s doctor about interactions with certain vitamins or minerals. Then the supplement will not increase or decrease the drug dose.
- Try a chewable vitamin if your child is not taking a pill or a liquid supplement.
- Consider waiting for a child to reach the age of 4 to start taking a multivitamin, unless your child’s doctor suggests otherwise.
A healthy diet plays a role in your child’s learning and development. So, instead of relying on cartoon characters who sell supplements, commit to using a range of healthy foods and valuable vitamins for children.
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