Your little picky eater doesn’t mean to make dinner time challenging, but it happens occasionally. As a parent, you’re probably less offended that your child hasn’t yet developed a taste for many home-cooked meals and more concerned about where your child’s nutrition will come from.
It’s not about being the winner in the battle of broccoli but about ensuring that your child has everything they need to grow and thrive. It’s counterproductive to force your children to eat certain foods, as you don’t want to risk children associating healthy foods with punishment. That will only exacerbate the problem.
Supplementation can help to keep your child healthy while you’re productively working towards nutrition goals with your child.
When you reach the children’s section of the multivitamin aisle, you’ll notice that it’s jam-packed with bright colors and cartoon characters. In all of that noise, it can be difficult to tell which of the offerings is appropriately suited to your child.
Multivitamins aren’t created equally. Rather than allowing your child to impulse buy a multivitamin that looks fun, parents should conduct a deep dive to find out what’s in every bottle and just how beneficial (or counterproductive) a multivitamin may be.
Addressing the Needs of Your Growing Children
Some children don't need a multivitamin. Children who are great eaters that appreciate nearly everything on their plate are likely meeting their needs through their diet.
By the time most children become teens, their diets have comfortably expanded. They’ve acquired a taste for many of the foods they need to keep themselves healthy, and should be informed about nutrition to a point where they can clearly understand the difference between healthy food and junk food.
But what should parents do until a child is old enough to play a role in managing their own diet?
Supplementation can help to fill the gaps in a child’s diet that occur as a result of picky eating behaviors, food aversions, allergies, and family lifestyles.
Even children who are good eaters may live within the parameters of certain diets. Plant-based households don’t serve meat, and meat is a valuable source of necessary B vitamins.
Dairy is off the table, which removes a source of calcium and vitamin D that most parents take for granted. Lifestyles can change the way diet supports vitamin and mineral intake, and in these circumstances, supplementation is always necessary.
Vitamins and Minerals Most Important to Growing Children
All vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are important to the health and development of young children. Youngsters need the same things adults need. They simply need them in different quantities.
The best way to determine what your child needs a little more of would be to consult with your child’s pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician will be able to adequately assess what your child is receiving through their diet and what they may need more of. Children with aversions to specific foods may need help to obtain the vitamins and minerals that food contains.
Children on vegan diets, food intolerances or allergies, and children with absorption issues will also usually require some form of supplementation.
Pediatricians note from general observations of children the types of vitamins and minerals that children are usually not getting enough of through their daily diet. Multivitamins like Hiya take these recommendations into account.
The pediatricians we worked with when formulating our children’s multivitamins composed a list of vitamins and nutrients that children need, but often do not consume in adequate amounts through their diets.
Hiya contains essential vitamins and nutrients including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
They also contain calcium, iodine, zinc, selenium, and manganese. This is a list you’ll want to bring to your child’s pediatrician to see if it’s the right fit for your child.
Your child may have unique needs that need to be properly addressed, like fiber or potassium requirements. Some children may require more iron when they begin puberty.
What Other Ingredients Are in the Bottle?
While the vitamin and mineral content is undoubtedly the most important part of the supplement, it is far from the only important supplement. Many parents are unknowingly giving their children vitamins packed with sugar and junk.
This isn’t necessarily the fault of the parent. It’s reasonable to expect that something marketed like a health product would be healthy. No one thinks to check the ingredients of something like a vitamin for added sugars and artificial flavors or colors. Doesn’t it seem counterintuitive that they would be there in the first place?
For the most part, multivitamins marketed to children or for children are little more than enriched candy. They’re made the same way that gummy bears or sour worms are made, but companies add a few drops of several vitamins to the mix and declare that they’re healthy. Sure, they may be more nutritionally beneficial than a traditional piece of candy, but they’re still a piece of candy.
Serving sizes can also be misleading with these candy-like vitamins. Most people naturally assume that one gummy would be one serving. This isn’t usually the case. Most of these gummy vitamins have a serving size of up to five gummies. This means you’re supposed to be giving your child five pieces of sugary candy.
While it’s true that children can and should have the occasional treat, you don’t want them to associate five pieces of candy with an act that promotes health and wellbeing.
In some ways, that gives the impression that a whole bag of candy is miracle medicine.
It’s best to avoid creating any kind of correlation between promoting health and snacks. Instead, children should know that making healthy choices is something they should be doing every day and that snacks like candy are something they should enjoy a small amount of on an infrequent basis.
Accommodating Lifestyles and Allergies
Once you’ve established the vitamin and mineral content of the supplements and what ingredients the multivitamin contains, you need to understand where those ingredients came from.
This is especially important if there are any food allergies, intolerances, or dietary restrictions in your home.
You need to ascertain that the multivitamin you choose for your child is safe and suitable. This might mean avoiding gluten, avoiding dairy, avoiding sugar, or selecting an vegan multivitamin. If sustainability is essential to your household, you might also want to double-check the packaging. Is it recycled? Is it reusable?
Can and Will Your Child Use Them?
The best multivitamin in the world won’t make a bit of difference if your child can’t or won’t use the multivitamin.
Children have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. They’re also quick to spit out something that tastes bad. That’s why less healthy gummy multivitamins seem to have stolen the show.
They look like candy, they taste like candy, and they practically are candy. So that candy association is something that parents should avoid.
Opting for a sugar-free, naturally-sweetened chewable vitamin is the best solution. Hiya’s chewable tablets don’t resemble gummy candy. They’re naturally sweetened with monk fruit, which does not interact with the body the same way sugar does.
Flavors come from an organic fruit and vegetable blend. Your child will enjoy the taste of the multivitamin while still appreciating the fact that supplements aren’t candy.
It’s a best of both worlds scenario. Parents feel good about what they’re giving their children, and children are likely to take their multivitamin supplement easily and without complaint.
There are a lot of factors that play a role in determining which multivitamins are best for children. Every child is different, and a consultation with your child’s pediatrician about supplementation is in order.
If your pediatrician agrees that your child would benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation, choose a multivitamin that your pediatrician approves of.
Hiya is proud to have created a multivitamin that pediatricians praise. That was always our main objective.
We’re a sustainable vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO multivitamin company founded by two dads who realized that children’s multivitamins were nowhere near as healthy as they seemed.
So we created Hiya to be a solution that parents, children, and the environment will love.