Essential Nutrients Challenge: Vitamins for Picky Eaters
- Children need a wide range of vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development.
- If your child is a picky eater, they may be deficient in certain essential nutrients.
- To ensure they’re getting what they need, try to tempt them to eat a variety of whole foods.
- High-quality vitamins for picky eaters can help to fill the nutrient gap.
If your child is a picky eater, don’t feel alone — it’s a problem many parents face. And while it’s normal for kids to turn their nose up at certain foods, you don’t want mealtimes in your house to turn into a battleground. So, getting creative with food and including vitamins for picky eaters can help make sure your little one gets all the nutrients they need.
Let’s explore why vitamins are so important in your child’s diet and how to get your picky eater to consume them. You’ll be amazed what a difference getting the right nutrients can make to your child’s health and behavior.
How to Make Sure Picky Eaters Get Enough Vitamins
If your picky eater isn’t getting enough key nutrients, it’s worth adding a supplement to their diet. Supplements for picky eaters can go a long way towards helping top up on those all-important minerals and vitamins.
You could, of course, buy a whole range of individual vitamin and mineral supplements, but a daily multivitamin is probably easier and cheaper. And — let’s face it — getting them to take just one may be enough of a challenge as it is. Luckily, supplements for picky eaters now come in several child-friendly forms, like powders, drinkable shakes, chewable vitamins, or yummy whole fruit gummy vitamins.
Note that while children need the same vitamins and minerals as adults, their little bodies don’t need as much. Children’s multivitamins are specially formulated to meet their needs. Be sure to read the instructions though, to make sure you’re giving them the right dose for your child’s age.
Important note: Consult your pediatrician or other healthcare professional before giving your child supplements of any kind.
What to Look Out For When Buying Vitamins for Picky Eaters
Avoid supplements that contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors, or preservatives. Also stay clear of fillers like gluten or other starches, and emulsifiers like maltodextrin or carrageenan, which are used to bind together ingredients that don’t normally mix. Adding any of those into their daily diet doesn’t do them any favors.
Rather, look for high-quality supplements like Llama Naturals Multivitamin Gummies. They’re made from real fruit and are packed full of whole-food vitamins for picky eaters. Llama Naturals gummy vitamins for kids are organic, plant-based, free of any nasty ingredients, and most importantly, utterly delicious. So much so, in fact, that you definitely need to keep the bottle out of reach so they can’t help themselves.
What Are the Most Important Vitamins for Picky Eaters?
Your little one needs a range of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis from food and/or supplements. For example:
- Vitamin A supports normal growth and development and is essential for healthy eyes and skin.
- The B vitamins — including biotin, riboflavin, and thiamin — support the nervous system and brain function, and help produce energy.
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system, supports muscles and connective tissue, and helps with wound healing.
- Vitamin D helps to build healthy bones, improves immunity, and regulates blood sugar.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals and also boosting the immune system.
- Calcium builds strong bones and teeth and keeps your little one’s heart pumping.
- Folate helps produce red blood cells, which move energy and oxygen around the body (folic acid is the synthetic version).
- Iron is essential for all-round healthy growth, development, and energy levels.
- Magnesium is critical for brain development, and helps with sleep and reducing anxiety.
- Omega-3s, including DHA and EPA, support immune health, and keep them focused and calm.
- Probiotics keep their gut functioning well and strengthen their immune system.
- Zinc boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of behavioral problems.
If you’re concerned that your child is missing out on any of these, consider having them tested for nutritional deficiencies. A call or visit to your local pediatric clinic should point you in the right direction.
Why Your Little Picky Eater Needs Vitamins
Ideally, your little one should eat a wide variety of foods across the various food groups over the course of a day. That means getting enough protein, whole grains, dairy, fruit, and vegetables. If you can persuade them to do that and they’re generally healthy, then you can probably stop worrying about your child’s diet right now.
Of course, that ideal might as well be pie in the sky for many desperate parents. Most children refuse to eat certain foods and are therefore missing out on important nutrients.
What Causes Picky Eating?
Now that we’ve helped with your dilemma, which vitamins can best help your picky eater, it’s time to back up and review some context. If you know the root cause of your child’s pickiness, it can help you form a long-term plan.
There are many reasons your child might be refusing to eat at mealtimes. They might simply prefer to eat at a different time of day. They may not like the taste or texture of a certain food, or these foods may simply look strange to them.
Tip: You may need to put a new food in front of your kid multiple times so they can get used to it before they finally decide to give it a try.
The challenge is that the different foods provide specific nutrients, so if they don’t like a particular food, they’re likely to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.
It’s also possible that your child has an underlying health issue that causes them to be a picky eater. For example, they may have food sensitivities or digestive issues that make eating certain foods uncomfortable. And they may have a condition such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or an even more serious illness. Plus, even if they are eating enough nutrient-rich foods, they may not be able to absorb what they need from them. If you’re worried, consult your pediatrician so you can correctly deal with the underlying cause.
Your child needs enough of the right nutrients for their body and brain to develop properly. Deficiencies in minerals and vitamins can seriously impact their growth and development, and their immune system, cognitive ability, and behavior. In cases like these, daily vitamins for picky eaters can help to fill the nutrient gap.
How to Get Your Picky Eater to Eat More Whole Foods
Now, we’re not ones to turn you away from vitamins (they’re kind of our favorite). But the truth is, whole foods are still pretty dang important. Let’s help you troubleshoot how to get your picky eater healthy by eating whole foods.
This is the time to let all that latent creativity out to play — and we’re talking about both yours and your child’s here. Here are some strategies to try to get in those vitamins for picky eaters:
- Get them started as early as possible on healthy foods, so they see a variety of fruit and vegetables on their plate as a normal and delicious part of the meal — that also keeps their body working well.
- Limit their access to processed foods and sugar-laden snacks or soft drinks. Rather, have healthy snacks on hand.
- Make sure you eat plenty of healthy food yourself and show how much you’re enjoying it. After all, kids do what you do, not what you say.
- Prepare one meal for the whole family rather than making something different for your child. Then if they don’t eat that during mealtimes, they need to wait till the next scheduled snack or meal.
- If you introduce them to something new and they resist, don’t force them to eat all of it. Rather, encourage them to take at least a small bite before they leave the rest.
- Make food more fun for them. Try cutting it into interesting shapes, or arrange it cleverly to create colorful faces or animals — or even better, get your child to do this.
- Cut veggies into finger-friendly sizes and offer them with a dip you know they like, like hummus or mashed avocado.
- Disguise fruit and veggies by blending them into delicious and easy-to-eat smoothies or soups, or baking them into muffins. Chop fruit finely and mix or blend it into yogurt.
- Give them fortified foods, like orange juice, cereals, yogurt, or whole-wheat bread. Just watch out for added sugar in these kinds of foods.
- Substitute food they don’t like with food they do that have similar nutrients. For example, if they don’t like meat, try giving them hummus or beans.
- Consider meals as a time for family bonding. Eat at the table — without the distraction of toys on hand — and get everyone to talk about their day.
Vitamins for Picky Eaters Support Your Child’s Health
Many children are picky eaters for a variety of reasons. For example, they may find the taste or texture strange or not like the look of a particular food. If they’re not getting enough of the important vitamins and minerals though, they may suffer from development or behavioral issues that can continue into adulthood.
To instill healthy habits from the start, keep offering a variety of healthy, whole foods. Encourage your child to try them and notice what they enjoy. Then add a high-quality supplement for kids that fills any gaps and sets them up for a lifetime of health and vitality.
Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that you and the family will love.