Does my child really need supplementation?
What are supplements?
Products taken to supplement your diet, which might be lagging in essential nutrients. These have dietary ingredients like vitamins, minerals, probiotics, amino acids, herbs or botanicals used to supplement the diet.
Dietary supplements come in many forms including tablets, capsules, gummies, powders, energy bars and liquids.
It is possible to consume all kinds of vitamins and minerals through the diet itself. However, this requires you to eat a variety of foods, in right quantities which balances the nutrition requirement.
Are dietary supplements actually required?
Different foods in each food group have different nutrients. Picking an assortment within every food group throughout the day will help you get many nutrients but if you are unable to meet the daily requirements is when supplements becomes essential. Hence it is important to understand a balanced diet and whether your little one is able to eat as much as the recommended dosages.
Building a healthy and balanced diet
Eating a variety of foods keeps our meals interesting and flavorful. It’s also the key to a healthy and balanced diet because each food has a unique mix of nutrients—both macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate provides a blueprint to help us make the best eating choices.
Along with filling half of our plate with colorful vegetables and fruits (and choosing them as snacks), split the other half between whole grains and healthy protein:
• Vegetables: The more veggies – and the greater the variety – the better.
• Fruits: Eat plenty of fruits of all colors. Choose whole fruits or sliced fruits (rather than fruit juices; limit fruit juice to one small glass per day).
• Grains: Go for whole grains or foods made with minimally processed whole grains. The less processed the grains, the better. Whole grains—whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and foods made with them, such as whole-grain pasta and 100% whole-wheat bread—have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin than white rice, bread, pizza crust, pasta, and other refined grains.
• Proteins: Choose beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based healthy protein options, as well as fish, eggs, and poultry. Limit red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and avoid processed meats (bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, sausages).
• Fats: It’s also important to remember that fat is a necessary part of our diet, and what matters most is the type of fat we eat. We should regularly choose foods with healthy unsaturated fats (such as fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils from plants), limit foods high in saturated fat (especially red meat), and avoid unhealthy trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils). Limit butter to occasional use.
• Dairy foods: are needed in smaller amounts than other foods on our plate – Choose unflavored milk, plain yogurt, small amounts of cheese, and other unsweetened dairy foods. Milk and other dairy products are a convenient source of calcium and vitamin D (if fortified), but the optimal intake of dairy products has yet to be determined and the research is still developing. For children consuming little or no milk, ask a doctor about possible calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
• Water should be the drink of choice with every meal and snack, as well as when we are active
What is RDA?
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is defined as the average daily dietary nutrient intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. The RDA varies according to age, sex, body weight, physiological state and activity for various nutrients.
How much fruits and vegetables do adults & children need daily?
According to Indian Council of Medical Research, 400 gms of fruits and vegetables needs to be consumed to meet the daily requirements for an individual. This self explains the need to add supplements in the daily routine.
Centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) recommends children from 2 -18 years to consume fruits and vegetables daily based on age and gender which is depicted below
|Age||Fruits & Vegetables to be consumed everyday|
|2-3 years||2 cups||2 cups|
|4-8 years||2.5 - 3 cups||2.5 - 3 cups|
|9-13 years||3.5 cups||4 cups|
|14-18 years||4 cups||5 cups|
This is quite alarming as most of us find it consistently hard to meet the needs for our children. That’s when the supplements come into picture because nutritional deficiencies on a longer can cause health problems. Hence, don’t consider supplements to be a villain, but be prudent about what kind of supplementation is required by your child and choose the right brand. TruVitals gummies are plant based gummies, which help in meeting the daily-nutri-quota of your kids. Depending on your requirement there is MultiVits & Fiber gummies to help overall growth & development and Immunity & Fiber gummies to strengthen their immunity.
Key Take away: Supplements are meant to help fill gaps in your nutrient needs. If your child has any allergies, be sure to pick up a brand which is free from that allergen. Meeting your kids daily-nutri-quota right from the critical growth years will go a long way to keep them healthy in future.