By Chelsea DeColle, CNP
How many parents have a child who has been a picky eater at some point in their lives? Likely most (of you) have experienced the difficulty of having to get very creative with foods or supplements to find a way to get adequate nutrition into your child. You are not alone in this challenge, as it is a common occurrence. In fact, recent statistics show that at any given age from 3 to 11 years between 13-22% of children were reported to be picky eaters.1 While this news may not seem encouraging, it shows that being a picky eater is quite normal in childhood and is typically short lived as kids grow older.
The good news is that there are many great options out there to support kids who may not be getting all the nutrients they need from food. Supplements are becoming even easier and more delicious for kids to take so they actually enjoy and look forward to taking them.
These options include many new alternative (fun) formats to the traditional supplement formats. Fun formats are a convenient, tasty and fun way for your kids to get the nutrients they need without a struggle. These formats include powders and liquids which can easily be added to smoothies or other beverages and foods. Chewable tablets, softgels and gummies taste delicious and make taking supplements way more fun for kids of all ages.
A few key supplements that kids should be taking to support their overall health and to fill in the nutritional gaps from inconsistent or picky eating include:
1. Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin! In Canada we all struggle to get enough of this vitamin for various reasons and many children do not meet the estimated average requirements for vitamin D from dietary sources.2 We also tend to protect children from excess sunlight (UV exposure) with clothing and sunscreen so their bodies may not be creating vitamin D directly from the sun. Progressive has a Children’s Chewable Softgel Vitamin D making it quick and easy for your kids to get their daily dose of the sunshine vitamin regardless of the weather.
2. Omega-3s – EPA and DHA are fatty acids that are essential for the body and mind, especially the bodies and minds of growing children. Studies show the importance of getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids for eye and brain development in children.3 Since highest amounts of omega-3s are found in fish, seafood, nuts and seeds, and these are often foods that children don’t like or don’t eat often enough, chances are they aren’t getting what they need. We suggest trying Jamieson’s Family Friendly Omega-3 Gummies or Progressive’s Ultimate Fish Oil Liquid for Kids. Either way your kids will love the tasty flavours and easy to take formats.
3. Multivitamin – what are the chances your child is actually getting their recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies? We all know the struggle with getting enough of our greens, even as adults! Eating a rainbow of different coloured fruits and vegetables provides valuable vitamins and minerals that we don’t get in some other foods, especially if they are processed and refined. Our go-to children’s multivitamin is Jamieson’s Kids Multivitamin Gummies to make sure all the nutrient boxes get checked every day.
Keep your kiddos supported with all the nutrients they need, on their plate and in their supplement bottle.
1. Mascola, A. J., Bryson, S. W., & Agras, W. S. (2010). Picky eating during childhood: a longitudinal study to age 11 years. Eating behaviors, 11(4), 253–257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2010.05.006
2. Colapinto CK, et al. Obesity, lifestyle and socio-economic determinants of vitamin D intake: A population-based study of Canadian children. Can J Public Health. (2014).105(6):e418-24.11
3. Kuratko, C. N., Barrett, E. C., Nelson, E. B., & Salem, N., Jr (2013). The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients, 5(7), 2777–2810. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072777