When your toddler starts to eat solid foods, a whole new world opens up. Nutrition changes significantly. Rather than obtaining all or most of what they need from milk or formula, they’re obtaining nutrition from a balanced diet. Unfortunately, a little belly can only hold so much. This leaves many parents concerned that their toddlers aren’t receiving enough of the vitamins and minerals they need to promote their growth and development.
There’s also the dilemma of toddlers beginning to communicate their preferences. They’ll express love for certain foods while unceremoniously flinging others off the plate. These foods don’t agree with their developing tastes, and they’ve not yet reached a point where they can thoroughly comprehend the benefits of eating them anyway.
Toddlers, particularly fussy about the foods they choose, may benefit from an appropriately formulated vitamin supplement to help fill up the gaps in their diets. As your toddler grows into a child who can be taught the importance of proper nutrition, many of these concerns will work their way to the backburner as a balanced diet becomes a part of the equation.
At What Age Do Toddlers Need Vitamins?
Toddlers simply require lesser amounts due to the smaller size of their bodies. They have less bone, less tissue, less muscle, and smaller organs. Their needs will gradually increase as they age, develop, and grow.
Depending on your toddler’s food preferences and eating habits, they may benefit from supplementing at least a few vitamins at around age two. If your toddler’s pediatrician feels that the toddler is adequately nourished, a vitamin supplement will serve as a valuable bonus to their diet. Always speak with your pediatrician before starting your child on vitamins or supplements. The needs of every child are different.
Circumstances Where Toddlers May Require Supplementation
Children raised in plant-based households will require supplemented vitamins and nutrients in the same way plant-based adults would. It’s likely that a plant-based toddler’s diet would be low in things like B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals strengthen bones and promote bone growth and help the body to produce red blood cells. Deficiencies in these essential vitamins and minerals may negatively impact the growth and development of your toddler.
Picky eaters sometimes require additional supplementation due to their refusal of certain foods. For example, if your toddler won’t eat vegetables, the process of teaching your child better habits may be long and occasionally imperfect. In the meantime, vitamin supplements can help your toddler continue to grow and develop by providing them with the necessary vitamins and minerals.
The Vitamins and Minerals Most Important to Your Toddler’s Growth
It’s important to carefully monitor your toddler’s diet for all deficiencies. They’re equally serious in a growing and developing child. Certain vitamins and minerals play paramount roles in growth and development and may require supplementation if your child isn’t getting enough through their diet.
Vitamin A protects eyesight and the immune system while facilitating bone, tissue, and skin growth. Naturally, orange foods often contain substantial amounts of vitamin A. Carrots, sweet potatoes, dairy, leafy greens, broccoli, and eggs are excellent natural sources of vitamin A. If your toddler won’t eat sufficient amounts of these foods, a multivitamin may bridge the gap.
There are many B vitamins, and they’re all crucially important for supporting the growth and development of children. For example, folate and vitamin B12 work together to support brain development, crucial for healthy growth.
In addition to aiding brain development, vitamin B12 is used in the metabolic process of every cell in the human body. It helps the body to create energy and manufacture DNA. Vitamin B12 is mostly obtained from meat and fish. If your toddler refuses meat or fish or if your household is plant-based, you’ll need to provide additional B12 to your child in the form of a supplement.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is necessary for the production of energy within the body. It helps create and protect all kinds of cells, including skin cells and the lining of the digestive tract. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t hold onto riboflavin. Instead, it promptly discards what it doesn’t use. Supplementation is necessary for the continued support of riboflavin if your toddler won’t eat or cannot eat leafy greens, mushrooms, nuts, animal-derived proteins like meat or dairy, soy, or wheat germ.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D support each other like the perfect duet. Vitamin D is what helps your body to absorb calcium. When they’re both present, the body takes in and utilizes the calcium. Without vitamin D, most of the calcium the body ingests will go to waste. That’s why so many foods that are rich in calcium are often fortified with vitamin D.
Your toddler needs calcium to grow and fortify their bones. Bones are constantly growing, repairing, and changing. Over the course of ten years, the human skeleton has completely replaced each bit of bone from the previous decade. Therefore, a constant supply of calcium and vitamin D is important in growing children to help preserve their bone health.
Leafy greens and dairy products are two important sources of calcium. Children who are lactose intolerant, children who have a dairy allergy, and children raised on plant-based diets may not be getting enough calcium from the food they eat. A calcium supplement can support their overall health as they grow.
Iodine is a necessary nutrient for thyroid function and the development of children. Iodine plays such an important role in forming young bodies that mothers who are deficient in iodine during pregnancy may experience adverse side effects. As a result, their children may be born with congenital abnormalities.
Iodine is often added to salt as a simple means of introducing a sufficient amount of iodine into the standard diet. This is a double-edged sword. Many parents may choose to avoid added salt in the diet of their household or choose electrolyte-rich alternatives to iodized table salt like himalayan pink salt. Unfortunately, alternative salt varieties aren’t much better than table salt, and they may fail to provide sufficient amounts of necessary iodine.
Supplements can ensure your toddler receives enough iodine to support healthy growth and metabolism.
Iron helps the body build muscle and create healthy red blood cells. As children grow, their blood volume increases, and their muscles must continuously develop to support their body as its size increases. Iron deficiency can cause lethargy, slow growth, and issues with heart rate and respiration.
Meat, beans, and some greens contain iron. Children only need a small amount, and they’ll likely obtain iron through their diet in most cases. Children on plant-based diets may benefit from a little extra iron.
Providing Adequate Nutrition for Your Toddler
Fortified breads and cereals contain most of the vitamins and nutrients your toddler needs to grow and thrive. Incorporating more fortified whole grains and cereals, particularly varieties that do not contain a surplus of added sugar, can be an effective strategy for meeting your growing toddler’s needs.
Introducing vegetables, meats, beans, or dairy products to your toddler may be a slightly slower process. It will take your toddler a while to appreciate certain foods, which is normal. Using a healthy and safe multivitamin supplement to assure that your toddler is properly nourished is a simple way to promote their growth and development.
Your toddler will be growing and developing for up to two decades. Dietary preferences and lifestyle factors will affect the nutrients that make their way to the dinner table. If your toddler’s pediatrician feels that they would benefit from a supplement, adding a daily multivitamin formulated for children will promote your toddler’s health while providing you with peace of mind.
Hiya’s multivitamin is formulated specifically to meet the needs of growing toddlers and children. Our formula is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and as clean as possible. We don’t use any sugar or artificial colors in our vitamins. Our chewable vitamins get their colors from natural sources and their natural sweetness from monk fruit. We want parents to feel good about what they provide for their toddlers.