8 Best Nutritionist Recommended Vitamins & Supplements For Kids of All Ages
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Vitamins for kids help us out when they won’t eat the green on their plate. You do your best to fill their plates with colorful, nutrient-dense foods, but try as you might, kids (of all ages!) are fickle creatures. As a nutritionist and a mom, I’ve seen it firsthand: One day they’re scarfing down your lentil beet burgers, the next it’s mac and cheese only for a week — hold the peas. Sometimes eating healthy is all jokes for kids, and getting them to do it is a nightmare for us. Which is why I’m endlessly grateful for kid-friendly vitamins, which serve as a supplement safety net to ensure little ones — and teens alike — are getting at least SOME actual nutrients amidst all that powdered cheese.
The chalky Flintstone vitamins of our youth (remember those?!) got a glow-up: Now, there are low-sugar gummies that still taste like candy, vitamin powders to swirl into smoothies and even kid-friendly probiotics (because sadly, your toddler’s dirt-eating habits don’t count). It all depends on your child’s age and tastes.
What are the best vitamins for kids?
But how do you know which supplement or formula to choose for your child? “There’s no one-size-fits-all response [to this question],” notes Dr. Alice Merkrebs, a pediatrician in Newburyport, MA. “Each child is different and therefore their individual needs and treatment plans will vary.” In general, kids who eat a well-rounded diet don’t need a daily vitamin. “But there are certain cases where a child may need a specific nutrient, such as when targeting a deficiency (like vitamin D) or bolstering the immune system,” says Dr. Merkrebs. There’s also something to be said for taking a vitamin a few times a week—just when you feel like you want to fill in the gaps.
“Overall, the nutrients that help build bones and promote brain development are especially important in childhood,” she notes. That means vitamin D, minerals such as magnesium and calcium (especially if your kiddo doesn’t do dairy), and omega-3 oils from algae or fish. The benefit of taking a multivitamin is that they usually contain many/all of those nutrients in one convenient package.
We’ve rounded up a few of our fave mom-approved vitamins for kids of all ages.
Found one you like? Be sure to touch base with your child’s doc during their next well-check before adding a supplement/vitamin to your child’s diet.
Best Vitamins for Babies
You probably hear about DHA quite a bit. These vitamins from Nordic Naturals stand out since DHA is their prime focus. As a great way to help support brain and visual growth, these vitamins may be a nice addition to your child’s bottle in the morning. Unlike a lot of DHA supplements, this one won’t leave too much of a fishy aftertaste. This supplement also has Vitamin D3, which helps with bone development and your baby’s immune system.
One Reviewer Says: “I got this for my toddler daughter who has a speech delay and tested low with her cognitive skills. I do realize it could be a coincidence but a couple weeks after starting with this DHA, [she] began repeating words (something she never did). But the big improvement has been in her cognitive skills! She's [begun] doing simple puzzles and shape sorters, and stacking blocks!! She even [put] coins into the slot of her toy pig! These are things she'd never even [attempted] before! It really is like someone turned on a switch.”
You can technically start using these multivitamins with iron after the two-month mark, if your pediatrician is on board with it. These drops include vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D3, and E. They also include iron and D3, which will help with their bone development. Perfect to slip into a bottle, this supplement tastes like grapes and is both vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
One Reviewer Says: “Easy to administer, six month old takes it well! Grape flavor, you can smell the iron but it’s not overpowering. Vitamins containing iron that kids like are hard to find. My 3-year-old approves and he’s picky!”
Best Vitamins for Toddlers
The Smarty Pants Toddler Formula is a low-sugar gummy option your kiddos will absolutely EAT UP— meaning no battles to get them to take their vitamins. The toddler formula is specially made for kids between the ages of two and three, and contains vitamins A, C, D, E, K and a range of Bs, plus minerals like choline, iodine, and zinc. It also packs in 100mg of omega-3s, all in a soft, chewy gummy. My favorite thing about Smarty Pants is that they use methylated forms of B vitamins (like folate [B9] and B12), which makes them easier for the body to absorb and utilize (i.e., they actually work). With just 2g of sugar in three gummies, you can rest easy knowing these are a slightly sweet treat with lots of added benefits.
One Reviewer Says: “My 2.5yr old has been lusting after his brother’s vitamins for a year now, so when I saw these I decided to get them and see if he likes them. Well, they are his favorite ‘food’ of the day. He reminds me every day that he wants his vitamins. I guess they taste good and are easy for him to chew and swallow since he is kind of obsessed with them. We will continue to buy them until he outgrows them.”
Adding a probiotic to your child’s breakfast checks the box to help keep little tummies happy—in one tasty, chewable format. Culturelle Kids packs in 5 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which has been well-studied for immune and digestive support. The berry-flavored chewable tablet is gluten-free and vegan, too, and made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. For busy toddlers on the go, Culturelle is a smart choice to help them keep moving. Be sure to include it as part of a balanced diet with other probiotic foods, such as yogurt (from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or plant-based) and kefir.
One Reviewer Says: “My daughter has taken Miralax for a number of years, and I've been looking for ways to get her off of it. After adding this to her morning breakfast routine, I've been able to slowly decrease her intake of Miralax. I'm moving slowly as not to cause any constipation issues, but so far, I'm pleased with the results.”
Best Vitamins for Kids
Sometimes, all it takes is a familiar character to get kids into vitamins. These Spider-Man gummies are sure to be the hit of breakfast for your kids. One gummy is recommended for kids between the ages of two and three, and four-year-olds and up will take two. This massive bottle is sure to last a long time, even with multiples in the house. Well over 1,000 parents have given them a five-star rating, so you know they’re worth the hype.
One Reviewer Says: “Very pleased with these so far! My son is 3.5 years old and has a lot of issues with [food]. I was really nervous about finding a vitamin he would actually try AND like! I researched the best-tasting chewy vitamins, and this was a popular choice. I also had a fellow mom, who has a child with eating issues, recommend these. Well, my son LIKES them! Yay!! I tasted one and they taste almost exactly like a fruit snack. So relieved.”
These vitamins by MegaFood are great since you get 30 per bottle. That means that in the slim chance that your kid doesn’t take to them, it’s not a big commitment unlike some of the competition. Best for kids over the age of five, these vitamins are fruit-flavored and in tablet form. They won’t make small bellies feel sick if they’re taken on an empty stomach and made from real food. What’s not to love?
One Reviewer Says: “Our kids are very picky when it comes to vitamins. They like the gummies or chocolate versions for a few days, and quickly get sick of the taste and don't want to take them anymore. I have purchased so many children's vitamins over the years, and this is the first that I have purchased over and over. The tablets are small enough [that] our 8 and 10-year-olds easily take [them] each morning without complaints. They also say it makes them feel ‘older’ since they are taking vitamins like mom does, so that's a win! Definitely recommend.”
Best Vitamins for Teens
Mary Ruth Organics is beloved by holistic health practitioners for their lineup of liquid vitamins, but we’re partial to their vegan gummies—which are great for any teen who’s going vegan or plant-based. As vitamin D and vitamin B12 are difficult to get from plant foods, a supplement is usually warranted. Make sure your teen is filling any dietary gaps with a bioavailable (easily absorbable) vegan supplement on the daily. The gummies are made without gelatin, and the vitamin D is sourced from lichen. Organic, methylated, non-GMO, and sugar-free, even the most sensitive kids can try this product. It’s actually safe for ages 2 and up, but I’ve found that both teens and adults still looooove their gummy vitamins. You can get them in raspberry or strawberry.
Rainbow Light is well-known for its food-based, affordable line of supplements (I’m a big fan of their prenatal, if you’re in the market), and their teen formula is a great blend of essential vitamins and minerals plus probiotics and botanicals. For the over-booked teen who’s in need of an all-in-one, look no further. Teens can take one to three tablets daily, depending on their energy needs and stress levels. Plenty of reviewers love the fact that they can help clear your skin, with many adults taking them for that purpose alone.
One Reviewer Says: “This product has really cleared up my daughter's facial acne. Other reviewers mentioned this as well and we noticed improvement within the first few days and her skin continues to clear up and she has not finished the first bottle yet. She is taking 2 pills daily. She does not have a problem swallowing large pills so this has not been an issue for her. These are not any bigger than your average vitamin or antibiotic pill but it would be an issue for someone who can't swallow pills. This seems like a good multivitamin with the added benefit of clearing up skin better than any face treatment we've used so far. I will absolutely continue to purchase this product!”
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