Does Your Child Need a Multivitamin?

It’s a question many parents ask: Does my kid need to take a multivitamin? Well, in a word, yes. And not just because your kid is a kid. Most of us could benefit from a daily multivitamin, because it is very difficult to take in the appropriate amounts of all vitamins and minerals each day through diet alone. “A multivitamin can help everyone fill in the gaps in their diet, especially for nutrients like zinc, magnesium and iron, which can be hard to get through food,” says nutritionist Jenn Gargiulo, RDN, CSSD. “It’s especially helpful for children who are picky eaters.”

A 2017 survey published in the journal Pediatrics reported that many American children go days without eating vegetables, and are more likely to munch on French fries than green vegetables on any given day. This leaves many kids woefully short of their vitamin needs. Enter kore vitamin gummies, which are fruit-flavored, provide 11 essential vitamins and nutrients, and are safe for children 2 years of age and up.

For some perspective, for a 2 to 3-year-old, the Reference Daily Intake set by the Food and Drug Administration is 1 cup of fruit and 1 cup of vegetables per day. A 4 to 8-year-old should get 1.5 cups of each. A 9 to 13-year-old should have 1.5 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables, with an increase to 2.5 cups of veggies for boys. But it’s important to remember that the RDI is a minimum requirement to prevent disease, and that most Americans – of all ages – fall short of both the RDI and what they need for optimal health.

Gargiulo notes that if your child only eats chicken fingers and pizza, a multivitamin won’t provide sufficient nutrients; it’s like fighting a forest fire with a Dixie cup. Introducing new, healthy foods into your child’s diet is critical. “It can take up to 10 tries before a kid will try a bite of a new food, so don’t give up,” Gargiulo says. “You have to keep putting it out there to make a change.”

We all know it’s difficult to get kids to eat vegetables, so Gargiulo recommends appealing to young taste buds with those that are colorful, crunchy and a bit sweet. Try orange and red peppers, carrots and sugar snap peas.

Setting a good example by eating vegetables yourself can also help. So can offering healthy dips for raw veggies, like hummus or Greek yogurt-based salad dressings. Or, mix veggies into foods your child already likes; try them in soups and pasta sauces, as a topping on pizza, or sneak blueberries into pancakes or carrots into muffins. If you’re feeling adventurous, growing vegetables with your children, or allowing them to pick out their own at the grocery store, can also increase their interest in eating them.

Still, some essential minerals are found in foods that may never be appealing to young palates. For example, zinc is found in oysters and cashews. Pumpkin seeds, spinach and avocado are high in magnesium, and red meat is high in iron. Because many kids – and adults, for that matter – won’t eat an oyster even on the hundredth try, adding a daily multivitamin is a perfect – and easy – way to cover your bases.