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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Vitamins and Toddlers

Vitamins and Toddlers

Many parents think about their toddler's erratic diet and contemplate the use of vitamins to ensure that their child stays healthy. Unless your toddler is extremely picky, they are probably eating a wide enough variety of foods over an extended period of time to ensure that they receive all of the important vitamins and nutrients. If, however, your toddler is extremely picky, it might be a good idea to add vitamins to their daily routine. Vitamin supplements are especially important for children who avoid entire foods groups such as vegetables or fruits.

Even if your toddler isn't very picky, it would be a good idea to compare their weekly diet to the food pyramid. If after tracking their food intake for a week you find that they are lacking significantly in one of the food groups, your child could probably benefit from a multivitamin.

If you choose to give your toddler a multivitamin, there are a few things you need to know about which one to choose.

• Any generic or name brand children's multi-vitamin will do as long as it is designed for children. You will probably want to choose one that comes in a liquid or chewable form to make dosing easier, but ant form will do.

• A regular multi-vitamin will work unless your child has special nutritional needs. For example, if your child avoids milk and other dairy products, then you will want to buy a vitamin that includes extra calcium.

• Do not purchase a vitamin that contains iron unless your doctor prescribes. High levels of iron are dangerous for children and the risk of overdose is exceptionally high.

• While buying vitamins that come in cool shapes and characters will make vitamin taking easier on you and your child, it can also lead your child to believe that the vitamins are candy. If you do choose a fun shaped vitamin, be sure to keep the bottle locked up or out of reach from little hands that are searching for something sweet to eat.

Even if you decide to give your toddler a daily vitamin, it is still a good idea to offer them a wide choice of nutritious foods. Children's bodies absorb the nutrients from natural foods faster and easier than they do from vitamins, so your child's body will be better able to use any nutrition it gets from food as opposed to vitamins.

In order to offer your child a balanced choice of foods, choose a variety of foods from the list below on a daily basis.

• Foods that are rich in vitamin A: carrots, green vegetables, tomatoes, oranges, plums and peaches

• Foods that are rich in the vitamin B group: meat, liver, fish, eggs, cheese and milk

• Foods that are rich in vitamin C: citrus fruits, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, potatoes and strawberries

• Foods that are rich in vitamin D: fish oil, liver and egg yolk

• Foods that are rich in vitamin E: vegetable oil, nuts, meat, cereal and egg yolk

Along with these natural foods, other foods such as cereal and flavored children's drinks also come enriched with certain vitamins. When choosing processed foods for your toddler, check the label and nutritional information to see which, if any, vitamins have been added.

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