As per television commercials, every child needs supplemental nutrition to be healthy. Is that true?

Well, no. Dietitians claim a child can get all the essential nutrients through his formal meals around the day. Milk products, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein-rich foods serve the required health.

But, are the kids taking proper meals?

With the fast-paced world, working parents often fail to provide home-cooked meals round the clock for their kids. On the other side, some parents look for incorporating extra nutrients for added immunity.

Which kids need nutrition supplements?

Pediatricians recommend a daily dose of essential supplements to children who fall under any of these categories:

- Kids with an irregular intake of balanced diet meals, greens, and whole grains.

- Kids with fussy eating habits and picky nature.

- Kids with medical conditions like digestive disorders, especially when they are under medication.

- Kids who intake a lot of fast food and processed meals.

- Kids with a vegan or vegetarian diet with a lot of essential foods missing from their meals.

- Kids who love carbonated drinks. These drinks drain out minerals and vitamins from the body.

- Kids in a restricted diet due to food allergies.

Which supplements to give my kid?

While a kid is growing, certain nutrients stand out and play a critical role:

❏ Vitamin A promotes healthy growth and development, repairs bones and tissues. Keeps eye and skin healthy and advances immune responses. Children aged 1 to 3 should intake no more than 2000 IU and from 4 to 8 no more than 3000 IU.

❏ Calcium supplements are essential for bone health and are recommended for children who avoid milk. The more bones children reserve at a young age, the more they will have in the later years. Aged 1-3 need 700 milligrams of calcium per day and 4-8 requires 1000 milligrams.

❏ Fiber supplements keep the digestive system smooth and prevent constipation. Children who intake 1500 calories are recommended to incorporate 25grams of fiber into their diet. Children with lesser calorie intake should go for less.

❏ B vitamins keep the heart and the nervous system healthy. It is also important for metabolism and energy. Vitamin B12 is the most essential of the vitamins. Babies require about 0.5 micrograms daily and it increases with age.

 Omega 3 promotes brain development and provides protection against diseases. It also prevents coronary artery disease. Several parents give their kids omega 3 supplements with DHA.

❏ Probiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and prevent harmful bacteria from growing.

❏ Iron helps red blood cells to carry more oxygen throughout the body. It also builds muscles. Female kids require more iron supplements before they enter the adolescent phase. Menstruation leads to huge blood loss.

What precautions to consider?

Before beginning with supplemental nutrition, discussing with the child’s doctor is a must. Intake of high amounts of supplements can be toxic, to avoid unsupervised consumption, keep the following tips in mind:

● Keep the tablet supplements away from a child’s reach and do not let them treat it like candy.

● Stop giving deserts for a bribe, give a chewable vitamin or mineral instead.

● If your child is under medication, talk to the doctor about which supplements are allowed.

● Do not start giving nutrition supplements to an infant. Considering waiting until the child is 4 years old.

The Bottom Line

Supplements are not magic potions that improve a child’s health in a day. And, by far, they are not a replacement for meals. It is highly recommended to prioritize properly cooked meals to gain all the essentials. These supplements are meant to fill the nutritional gaps in a child’s physical well-being. With a medical personnel’s guidance, supplements support and promote health. As these are medications and not confectionaries, parents must be mindful of their consumption.