Does My Child Need A Supplement?

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Does My Child Need A Supplement?

Does your child eat a variety of foods? If so, your child probably doesn't need a nutrient supplement. Meals and snacks likely supply enough vitamins and other nutrients for growth and health. Food is the best nutrient source, anyway.

If your child has a feeding problem that lasts for several weeks or if you're unsure about your child's nutrient intake, get expert advice. Before you give your child a supplement, talk to your child's doctor or a registered dietitian.

Beware of claims for supplements targeted to help children get over colds, depression or attention deficit disorder, among others. These claims aren't supported by sound science; such supplements may be harmful. An appropriate supplement may be recommended if your child avoids an entire food group due to a food dislike, allergy or intolerance; or if your child is a vegetarian.

If your health provider recommends a nutrient supplement for your child:

  • Choose a supplement with a childproof cap. Store it out of your child's reach.
  • Give a supplement only in the safe, recommended does. Too much can be harmful.
  • Remember: Supplements are just that – supplements – not an excuse to forgo smart eating.
  • Remind children that supplements aren't candy, even if they come in fun names, colors, shapes and package design.
  • Remember that enriched and fortified foods may have the same added nutrients that the supplement has.
Rate this article:  Average 3 out of 5

About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

Follow us online

My Recipe Box My Recipe Box

Keep all your favorite Kids Eat Right recipes in one place.