Are you one of those parents that add vitamins and supplements to their monthly shopping list. Or, do you walk past the vitamin shelf for kids at your supermarket and tell yourself that your children don’t need any of that?
Well, whichever parent you are, here’s what the experts say:
To supplement or not to supplement? That is the question!
If this was an ideal world, you probably wouldn’t have to buy your child any vitamins. Because, in that kind of world, you’d be feeding your children a rich variety of healthy foods. They’d love vegetables and fruits, and you as their parents would have all the time and energy to cook fresh meals every day. And, your kids lunch boxes would always contain not only interesting, but healthy snacks too.
Now, back to reality…
In this world, you have an extremely busy daily schedule. You often struggle to find time to cook fresh and varied meals for your children. And on top of that, you probably have to deal with the fact that your modern child, just like any other modern child, is a very picky eater.
Therefore, you choose to buy processed food such as chicken nuggets, hamburgers and hot dogs which are an easy way out. What’s more, you believe when manufacturers tell you that you shouldn’t worry about feeding your child these “perfectly healthy” foods.
Well, the sad truth is that, these foods often lack everything your child needs to stay healthy. They don’t have any minerals, vitamins and the best nutrients. What comforts you is your assumption that giving your child supplements in exchange for the vitamins and minerals that are missing from their meals solves your problem.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, vitamins may be necessary if your child doesn’t eat the way he should. If you don’t give vitamins, he may develop a vitamin or even a mineral deficiency which often leads to serious health problems, such as rickets or iron-deficiency anemia. Researchers emphasis the need for children to have a more varied, rich diet and not more food. This diet has to be rich in fresh fruits, milk and dairy products, leafy green vegetables and protein (fish, chicken, meat or eggs) It should also include whole grains (such as oats, brown rice and low-GI brown bread). All these foods can help protect his health and also support his normal growth.
But how do you know you’re which supplement is best for your child?
How do you choose the right supplements
You need to remember that your child’s needs are different from yours as an adult. So, before you decide to get supplements for your child, you need to know the kind of combinations you should be looking out for:
– Vitamin A, which promotes growth and development
– Vitamin B, essential for energy production
– Calcium makes his bones strong
– Vitamin D, essential for healthy bone and tooth formation
– Vitamin C, which promotes healthy muscles
– Iron, which helps build his muscle
However, you shouldn’t rush to give your child any supplements just because you’ve read this article. Speak to your doctor, especially if your child is on other medications. Dietary supplements can interfere with some medication and cause side effects. Furthermore, some supplements like the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K may be toxic to your child if he/she takes them in large amounts.
Warnings you shouldn’t ignore as a parent
Always keep vitamins and minerals out of the reach of your child. This especially important with the colourful, chewable ones that your child can easily confuse with sweets. You should also consider taking your picky eater to your doctor and ask for a blood test to check the vitamin levels in his body. This can help the doctor prescribe the right supplements for your child.