Vitamins and Toddlers – Asha Ramachandran, M.D., F.A.A.P.

Often we are asked by parents if their children need additional Vitamin supplementation – especially in the Toddler years when eating a complete and satisfying (for the parent) meal can be a difficult task. While Vitamins are not harmful and can certainly be given as a supplement they are most likely not necessary. Meat and Dairy restricted diets may require some supplementation and should be discussed with your Physician.

But if you are one of those parents who has broken down and started given your kids vitamins, you are not alone! The truth is most nutritionists agree that there is very little benefit in giving your children a daily multivitamin as there are very few instances where the child’s diet alone leaves him deficient. Here are some additional points described by healthychildren.org to consider:

  • The amount your child needs to eat to get enough vitamins and minerals from his food alone is probably much smaller than you think. Even for the pickiest of eaters, it doesn’t take more than a very few picks from each of the basic food groups for children to get their recommended daily dose.
  • Many vitamins can be stored in the body. This means that your child doesn’t have to eat each and every one every day—affording you the option of spreading your efforts at achieving a balanced diet out over the course of a week or two without spreading the vitamins too thin.
  • Ironically enough, parents who are most likely to give multivitamins are also those who are most likely to be feeding their children healthy diets in the first place.
  • Vitamins can be found in some unlikely sources. Calcium doesn’t just have to come from cows, since it is contained in both supplements and many nondairy foods ranging from salmon, tofu, spinach, and sardines to rhubarb, baked beans, bok choy, and almonds—admittedly not all of which are an easy sell at the dinner table, but at least you have plenty to choose from!
  • And finally, many foods these days are fortified. That means that even if your child favors foods that do not come naturally loaded with all of the necessary nutrients, all hope is not lost; it’s entirely possible that food manufacturers have added them in for you. Classic examples include the vitamin D fortification of milk, margarine, and pudding, and the calcium contained in kid-friendly foods such as orange juice, cereals, breads, and even Eggo waffles.

 

Take Care!

Dr. Asha

 

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