Should You Give Your Kids a Vitamin?
Should you give your children vitamins? When you think about many children do not get the recommended vitamins and minerals that they should. Many kid's diets are seriously lacking in nutrients, filled with empty calories, and are not varied enough for them to get what their bodies need from just foods alone.
Many people can't afford a varied diet and many families chose to use lots of prepackaged convenience foods instead of cooking from scratch. While the prepackaged foods are often fortified, the vitamins a person receives from these foods are still not the same as what they could receive from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In this instance, giving your child a daily vitamin could certainly help.
Many kids are picky eaters and although the parents might serve healthy foods, getting them to eat it is another matter. I have four kids, so I totally understand this. When my daughter was one she ate nothing but mandarin oranges and hotdogs for four months. Making sure she had a daily vitamin really eased my worries about her diet. The same thing applies now for us and many other people. I don't want to obsess over whether my child had enough Vitamin E today or enough calcium another day. I try to feed them healthy, but sometimes that doesn't work. Vitamins are like a good back up to making sure their little bodies get what they need to work properly.
I don't have the time or the mental energy to devote to figuring out exactly which foods need to be eaten with each other to optimize the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals. Way too many combinations and information for me to try to figure out. So again a daily vitamin makes sense.
Some people don't like giving their children vitamins though. In fact, I had to recently rethink my whole vitamin mentality when I discovered the vitamins I was giving my kids were loaded with artificial colors, and of course preservatives as well. We are trying to avoid those things and I finally came to terms with not giving my kids vitamins. I was trying to be more vigilant about their diets, but again picky eaters and all, it wasn't going too well.
Depending on the vitamin, some of them will not be absorbed by your body. I read somewhere that you should put a vitamin in a glass of water and if it isn't absorbed completely in 24 hours then your body won't absorb it either. That was an interesting test I tried on the vitamins I had been using. I quit using those vitamins. So realistically some vitamins aren't going to do us much good and in the case of artificial coloring and my kids, was actually doing harm.
I analyzed the different vitamins at the store and found some that have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Now I feel much better about giving my children their vitamins.
I decided I still wanted to give my kids vitamins, but I am not a stickler for every single day. Basically when I remember or when they have had a particularly bad day of eating. I do think it is a personal decision. Ideally a child will get everything their bodies need from the foods they eat, but realistically that rarely happens. Giving them a daily vitamin will probably help them and for the most part not hurt them, so why not?