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Choosing Supplements for Kids

By Mara Fleishman, July 31, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Mara Fleishman
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, MS, MPH, 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 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.

 

8 Comments

Comments

Sarah J says ...
Thanks for the info! I'm always trying to figure out what kinds of supplements to give my kids and there's just so much out there it gets confusing!
08/06/2011 1:12:15 PM CDT
jen says ...
Does Whole Foods carry children's vitamins? I am looking for one for my 11 year old vegetarian. She eats eggs and dairy, so i am not concerned about B12 but I'm think she may not be getting enough iron, any suggestions?
08/07/2011 9:19:26 AM CDT
Bobby Hawley says ...
Our product selection varies from store to store. Please check in with your local store directly http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/. Thanks!
08/08/2011 10:34:03 AM CDT
Lihua says ...
It is very important that let the kids know supplement is not candy and make it not too sweet. It could cause overdose if the supplement tastes too good.
08/13/2011 1:04:44 PM CDT
Julia says ...
Thank you! We have been a bit "random" in our use of vitamins for the kids...this helps!
10/27/2011 8:06:50 AM CDT
stephanie miller says ...
thanks for the great info! i was wondering if i should get a different multi for my daughter, who is 14. now i know! thanks!
10/27/2011 11:55:31 AM CDT
helenlam says ...
It's always hard to know at what age kids can begin taking supplements. Thoughts?
11/07/2011 6:29:09 PM CST
Laurie says ...
My baby is 2 months old. I am trying to find more natural vitamin D supplement to give him that the enfamil option. Does Whole Foods carry one?
04/01/2013 1:17:37 PM CDT