As parents, we all want the best for our kids. We want to give them the best start in life during their younger years and nourish their growing bodies with optimal nutrition. Introducing a wide variety of organic foods that include fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains and plenty of healthy fats is key. I also love to support my two growing boys’ microbiome with fermented veggies, pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and more.
But I get it, mealtime can become a battle zone when your child refuses to eat anything that’s green, yellow, or orange, and declares he only likes pasta, bread, and chicken. This is when I find supplements especially helpful.
This doesn’t mean I endorse always giving in to your children’s demands for meal alternatives. Actually, I recommend continuing to serve healthy, balanced meals, and if they are hungry enough, they will eat it! But for those days when they are determined to resist, you have some basics covered with quality supplements.
Should I Give My Child Supplements?
It is always important to seek out a qualified health care practitioner who can help you get to the root cause of any new or abnormal symptoms your child may have. But very often, supplements can be a helpful part of a healing plan for your child, whether he is healthy and thriving or needs a little extra support. Supplements can be a great option if your child:
- Is a picky eater
- Is on a restrictive diet (due to food allergies or sensitivities)
- Shows signs of attention deficit or hyperactivity
- Shows signs of developmental delays
- Is frequently getting sick or shows signs of a low immune system
- Has digestive symptoms which may affect their nutrient absorption
- Has skin issues
- Is fatigued more than usual
The 4 Best Supplements for Kids
The following are my top supplement recommendations that will support your child’s overall health.
A well-balanced multivitamin and mineral supplement in absorbable, bioavailable forms is a great way to provide the minimum recommended daily allowance for your child at their age.
Make sure your multivitamin is free of:
- Cane sugar or glucose syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food dyes
- GMO ingredients
When choosing a multivitamin, try to:
- Avoid gummies (that stick to teeth and can contribute to tooth decay)
- Ensure it is organic if it is a whole-food-based product, as concentrated veggies can mean concentrated pesticides if they are not organic
- Look for folate (vitamin B9) over synthetic folic acid
Vitamin D is a very common deficiency due to widespread practices of avoiding sun exposure and using sunscreens that block UV rays along with the rays that your skin needs to synthesize vitamin D. Unfortunately, we can’t get our required amount of vitamin D from our diet alone.
Vitamin D is especially important for:
- Immune health
- Bone growth and development
- Healthy teeth
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends full and partially breastfed infants be supplemented directly with at least 400 IU/day of vitamin D.
The Vitamin D Council goes even farther to recommend everyone have their levels tested so the proper dose can be recommended for each individual’s unique need. In general, they recommend a dose of 1000 IU/day for infants and 1000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight for children.
Probiotics can be found in many forms including liquid drops, powders, chewable tablets, and capsules that can be swallowed. Pick the right option to easily administer to your child based on his age and preference.
Probiotics are great for supporting:
- Gut health and bowel regularity
- The immune system
Key things to look for in a probiotic supplement include:
- Age appropriate researched strains
- Testing to ensure label claims of potency and purity (lack of contamination)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation and support our nervous system, brain development, and cognitive function. Our bodies cannot make omega-3 fatty acids on their own, but they are found in foods like:
- Fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
- Nuts (especially walnuts)
- Seeds (flax, chia, hemp seeds and oils)
- Grass-fed beef
When choosing a fish or other marine oil ensure it is:
- Molecularly distilled
- Tested to make sure it is free from environmental toxins or contaminants
These four supplements are beneficial to most children for overall health, but if your child is suffering from a specific deficiency, definitely visit your physician to discuss the best supplements or foods to help naturally solve the issue.