Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Choosing Supplements for Kids

By Chris Jensen, August 8, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen
Don’t know where to start when it comes to products designed for children? Join us as we clear up the confusion and outline the most important nutrients and supplements to support growing kids and teens. Malia Curran holds Masters degrees in Nutrition Science and Public Health from Tufts University School of Nutrition and School of Medicine. She is a nutrition consultant, speaker and mother of 2 young children.

A multivitamin is the most important supplement to give to children:
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a multivitamin for kids with poor appetite or erratic eating.
  • A balanced healthy diet with a variety of whole foods can provide all the nutrients kids need; but children are all different and some eating patterns pose specific problems that can cause nutrient deficiencies.
  • Children have special nutrient requirements and therefore need special multivitamins. Additionally, requirements change as they grow - such as calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C - these all have specific recommendations for children and teens.
The additional nutrients to focus on for children are:
  • Essential fatty acids, which are the good fats, are vital for growth and development.
  • For children who are not dairy or fortified non-dairy milk drinkers, a calcium/magnesium/vitamin D supplement is important.
  • Green powder drinks designed specifically for kids can be mixed into drinks, water or smoothies for additional vitamins and minerals, as well as countless antioxidants.
When giving supplements and snacks to children and teens, keep in mind:
  • It really is important to buy children-specific products. Nutrient needs (and upper limits) do change often as children grow.
  • Healthy adult snacks are usually fine for children, and sometimes even have fewer sweeteners than kids’ versions.  Just be aware of potential choking hazards for young children like whole nuts in granola bars.
  • Look out for caffeine and herbal content in adult energy snacks and beverages, as these may not be appropriate for children and teens.
  • Choose snack bars for kids that have some protein and fiber in them, which can often be missing.

 

4 Comments

Comments

Cheryl Nakao says ...
Protein in snack and granola bars are a difficult thing for my family, as 2 of my 5 children have life threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts (among other things). Heck, finding multi-vitamins and other supplements that are free of their allergens is a challenge most of the time.
08/09/2010 9:17:11 AM CDT
mom of 4 says ...
Thank you so much for the great information in your article. I am blessed with 4 beautiful children, 2 of which eat everything I put in front of them and 2 that are very picky. For the 2 that eat everything I can pack fresh fruits and veggies with dip in their school lunches and they'll eat it all up with smiles on their faces. The other 2 are grumpy and skinny and won't touch a lot of that stuff. One healthy prepackaged snack I've found is Gudernoobs made by WooHoo Foods that come in 4 varieties. My picky eaters like em so I make sure to put a few in their lunches each day and that way I know they have some of the basic nutrients and omega-3s they need each day. Plus they all get a multivit every morning just in case.
08/15/2010 8:29:05 AM CDT
Jill Achanzar says ...
Green powder drinks are talked about, but there is no mention of what brand is to be used or what kind are out there for the kids. My daughter hates veggies and I would love to get this powder for her. Can someone help me?
11/19/2010 3:14:16 PM CST
stephanie young says ...
I use Simpleaf whole food supplement. It's an organic high quality powder that I mix into my smoothies. I really feel much better than I did when I just used the "typical" vitamins or supplements. I think this product is pretty new to the market, but I really recommend it! :)
11/22/2010 12:05:57 AM CST