Supplements, often known as dietary supplements, are specific nutrients or components from each food group that replenish a nutrient’s deficiency in the body. When nutrient absorption through diet fails to meet the body’s requirements, supplements rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids are frequently advised to maintain kids’ health. Dietary supplements, which come in the shape of pills, capsules, tablets, powders, liquids, and even health bars, are recommended by health experts to address the body’s nutritional needs. These supplements are created by extracting nutrients from natural or synthetic sources, or a combination of the two.
Childhood is a critical period for the brain’s growth and development, as well as the development of other organs. When a child is deficient in a nutrient as a result of a particular diet or intolerance, such as lactose intolerance or a food allergy, the loss of that nutrient has a direct impact on the child’s health. In contrast to children who eat a well-balanced diet, some children are deficient in vital vitamins, minerals, or nutrients, and may require vitamin supplementation to manage a variety of health problems and maintain general well-being.
Nutritional supplements are necessary because of modern-day environmental pollutants, nutrient-depleted foods, and poor diets. Furthermore, health specialists frequently offer a variety of supplements, including multivitamins and calcium tablets, some of which require multiple daily dosages.
Ways to incorporate vitamin supplements into child’s routine
As a health-conscious parent, you undoubtedly strive to ensure that your child’s diet is full of required vitamins and nutrients. However, with the fast pace of modern life, it’s not easy for any parent to down supplements consistently in their child’s diet, children do all sorts of things to avoid food as much as possible. In today’s world, making nutrient rich food reach into a child’s belly is a real tough task.
As a busy adult with a picky eater child, here are some ways how parents can successfully incorporate vitamins into their children’s daily routine –
Make Vitamin supplements more appealing to kids
If your children are too young to chew vitamins, crush them and mix them with fruit juice or soft food like applesauce at mealtime. Because some vitamins are heat sensitive, it is not a good idea to combine them with hot foods. Sweet drinks, such as pineapple juice, can help to mask the taste of the vitamin. If the child still senses and hates the vitamin’s taste, having the child drink extra fruit juice right after swallowing the vitamin-containing food or drink helps to swiftly wash away the undesirable flavour.
Eliminate Resistance to Taking Vitamins
If you can eliminate any resistance, there is no way children can avoid taking vitamin supplements on a daily basis. Breaking or digesting a non-chewable tablet is more difficult for children as they can’t swallow pills so they avoid taking their vitamins. In this instance, it is preferable to offer kids chewable vitamins. Nowadays, there are a plethora of excellent chewable supplements available. Numerous healthy children’s vitamins exist currently that look and taste like candy, making them more palatable.
Prefer Vitamin Sprays
They are easy to use- just 1 to 2 sprays in the mouth and their absorption and bioavailability is also higher in the body.
Probiotics are live bacteria that dwell in our gut and are incredibly beneficial to our digestive system. Probiotic supplements primarily aid in the replenishment of beneficial bacteria in the body. They are crucial in the treatment of health disorders such as diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and allergies in children. Probiotics are available as powders in sachets which make a tasty drink. Give kids, Vitamin / mineral/probiotic drinks instead of soft drinks when they gather together. They usually create less fuss in a group or when with friends. The rest of parents will also thank you.
Employ Reminders, Calendars and Timers
Setting up recurrent reminder messages for each vitamin supplement to be given to the child can help with recall. Creating a calendar with checkboxes for each day’s vitamins can also help. Handwritten reminder notes can also be taped in prominent places to act as a reminder.
Make it Fun
Kids love to have a good time and are more inclined to participate in activities that are enjoyable to them. By singing a song or making funny faces while they take their vitamins, you can help them look forward to taking them. You might associate taking vitamins with their favourite TV show, movie, or video game by offering the supplements along with the entertainment.
Take Vitamins with kids
Not only are they beneficial to your health, but children like imitating older people and especially their elders and people they know. They look up to you, so make sure you meet your own dietary needs as well! If your children have siblings, cousins, or close friends, you could try showing them that they also take vitamins. Kids look to their friends and elder siblings for guidance, especially as they get older.
Make sure they’re only taking what they should
Vitamins are easy to overdo, especially when they taste like blue raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, or other fun flavours. However, all nutritional supplements, including multivitamins, should be used only in the appropriate dose. Taking too much of certain vitamins can cause harm to the body’s organs or even be toxic!
While some children may acquire all of the needed nutrients from their regular diet, others may be deficient and require nutrient supplementation. As a result, various health care providers strongly advise children to take supplements, as they are extremely important for the body’s good functioning. Choose standard companies that use doses as per ICMR regulations and avoid those with high doses.