In a perfect world, your children would eat a balanced diet with the right amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by nutritional standards. However, we all know that rarely happens. Many children do not like and sometimes refuse to eat some kinds of fruits and vegetables. This makes it difficult to ensure they are receiving a well-balanced diet that provides all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy life. There are things you can do as a parent to ensure your child is receiving adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in their diet.
Using vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure a well-balanced diet can begin during pregnancy. It is very important for pregnant mothers to obtain the recommended dose of folate and vitamin B-6, since it is an essential component in the formation of genetic material and hemoglobin in red blood cells. Lack of folic acid can cause the mother to become anemic and increases the risk of miscarriage. Folic acid deficiency may also cause the child to be born with a deformity or disability. If you are pregnant and you feel you cannot obtain the adequate amounts of vitamin B-6 on your own, it may be a good idea to look into a vitamin supplement for the duration of your pregnancy and talk to your Doctor.
Once your child is born there are more steps you can take in the first 2 years of their lives, which may increase their vitamin intake and provide a healthier lifestyle. Babies who are breastfed often lack vitamin D. This is not as necessary if the mother is eating a well-balanced diet, however breast milk alone does not give the baby the recommended daily amount of vitamin D. Formula fed babies do not need any vitamin supplementation. Medically approved, commercial iron-fortified formulas provide babies with the recommended amount of vitamins they need, so babies require no additional supplements. Giving vitamin supplements to a baby who is already receiving the daily recommendation can be harmful and potentially become very dangerous for your child.
When your child reaches the age of about 2 (and older) and is eating solid foods from all food groups, vitamin supplements are usually not necessary.
Try and provide the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals to your children through the foods they eat regularly. Sometimes this can be an impossible task and if you think your child is lacking the sufficient amounts of vitamins, the best thing to do is to contact their doctor who will recommend whether or not vitamin supplements are necessary. It is important to remember that vitamin supplements are meant to accompany food and are in no way meant as a replacement for a healthy diet.
Health-related information changes frequently, and while every attempt has been made to ensure the content in this article is up to date and accurate, you should always check with a doctor or nutritional expert before undertaking any substantial change in diet or lifestyle.
Jeff Matson is an avid health enthusiast who owned and operated his own natural health food store. Now retired, Jeff spends his time keeping fit, walking marathons and writing articles as a contributing editor for www.vitamin-insight.com – a site that offers information on vitamins, medicinal herbs and other supplements.