There is nothing more important to a parent than the health and wellbeing of their children, and that includes making sure their little ones get all the vital nutrients they need to develop into able-bodied adults. Ideally, children will get all those essential vitamins and minerals from healthy, well-balanced home-cooked meals which are carefully planned and prepared by their parents.
Any parent reading this article already knows that last statement is an unrealistic goal, unless of course you are always with your children and monitor everything they put in their mouths. Even if that were the case, children are very selective when it comes to food, and getting them to eat what you've prepared for them can sometimes be a frustrating exercise. We live in a fast-paced (and sometimes, financially difficult) time, when parents are forced to juggle work and family life to put food on the table. There simply isn't always time for the 'careful' meal planning mentioned earlier, nor for consistent home-cooked meals either. Fast-food and processed foods have become the quick fixes of modern family diets, but they are not instilling healthy eating habits in our children.
Children's diets don't always have the full vitamin profiles that they need. Typically they are low in calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and vitamin D. (This last nutrient may be low even in healthy diets during months with little sunlight.) For this reason, vitamin supplements for children should be considered. Multivitamins will also contain vitamins A, C, E and the B vitamin family, but whether or not your child needs these will depend on his or her diet.
Multivitamins aren't the only supplements for children on the market. Cod liver oil provides your child with essential Omega-3 fatty acids which their diet alone will not give them, unless they are eating two servings of fish per week. Cod liver oil is also a rich source of vitamin D and helps build a strong immune system.
Remember: children's supplements should never replace healthy eating, and parents should strive to maximize the vitamins and minerals their child receives in regular meals. Supplements are best given after a meal, because fat-soluble vitamins can only be absorbed with food. Most importantly, always consult your paediatrician before giving your child supplements, especially if your child is taking any medication that might interact with them.