Ensuring your child has an adequate intake of nutritious foods can be difficult, especially in the toddler to preschool age when many children are quite picky with textures and new tastes. In an ideal world, your child would obtain all the nutrients they need from their diet, however, this is not always the case. Supplementation may be necessary for some children to ensure adequate nourishment.
Vitamin D should be supplemented with starting at birth at 400 IUs per day if the child is breast fed. If formula fed, no vitamin D supplementation is necessary. Once solid food is introduced, vitamin D supplementation may be needed if your child does not consume foods high in vitamin D such as fish, eggs, meat or fortified vitamin D products (cow’s milk, cereal, yoghurt).
High quality multivitamin
A good quality multivitamin may be necessary for young children who are picky eaters. Vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin A, C and E are all important to look for in the multi vitamin. The multivitamin should be free of extra additives such as sugars and dyes. Many minerals in a multi vitamin can be toxic at high doses, so make sure to keep these supplements away from children unless supervised.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplement
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for growth and development in children, especially in the brain. Sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are only available in fatty fish or algae, both of which are not often foods that children eat a lot of. Therefore, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement may be an important addition for many children. A barrier to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is the texture and fishy taste of many oils on the market. Making sure your child will take the supplement is important. Look for a high potency omega-3 fatty acid supplement in a triglyceride form, flavoured without many additives or sugar.
It's always important to check in with your child’s healthcare professional before adding supplements to their routine.