Children’s Multivitamins: How To Choose?
By: Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
As a child, I can remember my mom giving me my children’s multivitamin. I hated them. Their taste was so unpleasant. I would sneak upstairs to my bedroom and hide the uneaten chewables behind my huge 1980’s dresser with towering shelves on top. I put each vitamin there every day for what seemed like years. No one could see them and it was so high, we rarely cleaned behind there. I had to stand on my dresser to throw it over the lip of the top shelf. Well that was until one day when we decided to do spring-cleaning. My mother climbed up there only to find 365 days worth of vitamins. My secret was out.
With not so fond memories of chewable multivitamins, I have taken caution when purchasing my own children’s daily vitamins. Not only do I want to provide a tasty vitamin, I want to be sure it is natural, free of dyes and low in allergenic foods/substances. It had been easy as pie until about one year when Natrol’s Liquid Kid Companion Multivitamin with Vit. D became unavailable. My kids’ had happily drank this liquid vitamin mixed with their omega 3 fatty acid supplement each night at dinner. What was I going to do? Natrol said they would not be making more until the likes of 2014.
Well, when Natrol stopped making this vitamin, my boys stopped taking a vitamin. I tried a few brands that I thought were worthy but to no avail. I now have a stockpile of vitamins by different brands as none have passed my boys’ taste tests.
However, last week was different. I finally succumbed to buying a gummy version rather than a regular chewable or liquid. I dreaded having to buy a gummy version, as they are basically sugar bears with either not enough vitamins or seemingly like a form of candy. So I rationalized it probably would taste edible and the kids would at least eat them. I could give them with the boys’ lunch, as I didn’t want the boys to get in the habit of always having a sweet something post dinner or even worse, post breakfast.
After reading all of the labels I found a vitamin that came in individual packs that was gluten-free, without preservatives and had only natural colors and flavors. The plus was that these three bears met 100% DV for all the vitamins except for B-1 and Niacin. It even had 100% DV for Vitamin D at 400 IU’s. So besides the fact it contains glucose syrup and even beeswax it seemed to be a better product than the other brands out there. Best of all, my boys like them! I can easily send them in their lunch boxes since they are already individually portioned in little packs. So though there is no perfect vitamin, these are the best I can find at this moment and that my kids will eat.
Below are the nutrition facts of three different children’s gummy multivitamins. Read the ingredients and the nutrition facts of all supplements before purchasing. Consider reading the reviews on sites such as www.consumerlabs.com for a third party, objective view. Look for the one that meets 100%DV and is free of artificial colorings and preservatives. While there is no perfect vitamin – real food is the best source of nutrition, many RD’s and MD’s recommend children, especially picky eaters, take a multivitamin to help ensure micronutrient intake.
Click here for a sample Nutrition Facts comparison of 3 different vitamin brands.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Multivitamin for your Child:
Think about your child’s diet? Do they eat a variety of fruits and vegetables? Do they get enough calcium from dairy sources? Are they vegetarian? Do they have food allergies? Are there food allergies in the family? What are your personal thoughts on artificial dyes, or organic ingredients?
If you are struggling to choose the appropriate vitamin, ask your medical doctor, or registered dietitian to help you.