The best source of nutrition for children begins at your local supermarket and the choices you make when you go food shopping for your family.
You always want to serve a wide variety of fresh foods including whole grains and healthy fruit and vegetables. Vitamin supplements intended to compensate for an unhealthy diet loaded with fast foods and convenient foods is not a good plan for the long-term health of your children.
Nevertheless, there are many situations in which vitamin supplements for children can be an important part of the child’s overall nutritional plan. For example, your children may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need for any one or more of the following reasons:
· Your child doesn’t eat regular, well-balanced meals
· You have a finicky eater who isn’t getting enough of the healthy foods
· Children suffering from a chronic medical condition or have digestive difficulty
· Active children who participate in sports that are extremely physically demanding
· Child who subsists on a diet of fast food, convenience and processed food
· Kids eating a vegetarian or dairy free diet may need I and/or calcium supplements
· When children drink too many carbonated sodas that leach vitamins and minerals right out of their bodies
In our fast-paced society most parents don’t always have the time to prepare nutritious home-cooked meals on a regular basis. That’s one reason why those parents should consider a daily multivitamin or some type of mineral supplement for their family. Under these circumstances, taking a multivitamin will definitely be beneficial as opposed to taking nothing at all.
Obviously, the best plan of all is for children to eat healthy, well-balanced meals to get their recommended daily dosages of vitamins. And to ensure that your kids receive the most vitamins possible, your goal should be to give them more variety in their diet, not more food! You should also exercise good portion control, which is about ¼ to 1/3 of what adults normally eat.
You want to avoid allowing your children to eat too much food at any given meal too.
Eating the traditional “three square meals” per day is far less healthy than eating the same amount of food spread out across six equally sized meals throughout the day. That’s because when you only eat three meals a day you’re literally starving your body between meals. Consequently, when it’s time to eat again your body will overcompensate by causing you to overeat because it knows that it won’t receive another meal for a very long time.
Also, the human body is only able to digest the critical nutrients it needs in about two hours. Any food left over is simply discarded as waste or converted to fat. As a result, over eating three times a day simply leads to obesity, waste of money, and doesn’t really do much to satisfy your hunger.
Conversely, spreading your meals throughout the day in six equal installments means that you eat every couple of hours or so. That’s just enough time for your body to digest small amounts of nutrients that are used for lean muscle and not shuffled off to become body fat.
Always include vegetables in each meal, chances are your child will eat them at some point during the day so don’t be too insistent about children eating vegetables at every single meal.
If the meals in your home are nutritionally unbalanced or if your children simply won’t eat more nutritious foods, then it’s imperative that you supplement the nutritional needs of your family with a high-quality multivitamin supplement. Taking a multivitamin each day contributes to improving the overall health of children by preventing vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies. It’s a simple way of ensuring that your children receive the nourishment they need.
Finding vitamin supplements that are appropriate for your children can be a bit challenging. That’s because specific labeling on vitamins is not enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and consequently some manufacturers of vitamins make false claims. A good example is that some multivitamins can be labeled “complete,” and still not contain all of the recommended minerals and vitamins that children need.
A good place for parents to start their search for high-quality vitamins is the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine dietary supplements label database. There, you’ll find a great deal of information that’ll help you determine age appropriate vitamins and minerals for your children.
If you decide that vitamin supplements are right for your family, and in particular for your children, then make sure that the children’s vitamins you select are rich in iron, calcium, vitamins A, B, C and D. These are the nutritional areas in which children usually lack the most.
You also might want to ensure that the children’s vitamins you choose are attractively packaged in a manner that’s pleasing to kids. That means they should come in fun shapes and be colorful to spark their interest. Many children are attracted to vitamins that resemble and taste like lollipops, gummy bears, and gumballs. The downside to this approach is that children may treat these vitamins like candy so it’s imperative that you keep them out of your child’s reach when you’re not dispensing them yourself.
Overdosing on vitamins can pose serious health risks to a child. If you believe that your child has taken too many vitamins then you should immediately consult with your family pediatrician or call your local emergency poison control center for instructions.
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