Nutrition For Kids: Is A Daily Children’s Multivitamin Really Necessary?

Is A Daily Children's Multi-Vitamin Really Necessary? | Growing Up Herbal | Every wonder if your kids really need a daily vitamin?

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of us natural mama bloggers talk about the downsides to giving our kids multi-vitamins… yes, even healthy ones, but have you ever wondered what we do instead?

I know I did at one point.

In the last several posts I’ve been talking about nutrition for kids… how to improve their diets, what supplements may be necessary from time to time, and how to skip the supplements and use food instead. Well today I wanna get more specific about multi-vitamins because this something I get asked about a lot.

When I’m asked about my not giving my kids a daily vitamin, the most common questions to follow is, “What exactly do you give them in place of the multi-vitamin?” and “Can I really nourish my child on food alone?”.

Well before I answer these questions, let me tell you why I personally think that daily multi-vitamins are over-rated and why I have chosen to skip them with my kids.

Why I Skip Daily Multi-Vitamins For My Kids

There are basically two reasons why I skip multi-vitamins with my kids.

  1. I feel that God designed our bodies to utilize foods for nourishment… not pills.
  2. Most multi-vitamins are synthetic and not absorbed very well anyway, and I don’t want to pay for myself or my kid to have expensive pee.

Perfectly Designed

It’s not new news that the body was designed to take in food as nourishment, digest it, absorb the nutrients, use and store what it needs, and then discard the leftovers. Why would I not trust that process? It’s a grand design, and it works well so I’d prefer to keep it as the first choice in our lives.

Obviously, there are things that can hinder this process. Take less nutritious food for example. So what do I do? I work to boost the amount of nutrient dense foods my kids eat. Also, sickness and diseases can interfere with human design too. Thankfully, in my family, we don’t have any digestive issues or problems that cause trouble with our guts absorbing nutrients from foods. Some families do deal with this, therefore they have to look into different options.

Honesty and Expensive Pee

It’s also not new news that the majority of manufactured vitamins aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. From my understanding, the vitamin industry isn’t heavily regulated, and that means each company can tell me what they want to about their vitamin. They can say their vitamin is a natural vitamin or even a whole food vitamin and then go add in synthetic vitamins as well.

This is why it’s important to get to know as much as possible about these different vitamin companies. Email their customer service departments. Ask them questions. Demand answers. If you’re paying the price of high-quality vitamins for your family, you deserve to know you’re getting what you’re paying for.

It’s also known that the body doesn’t absorb synthetic vitamins very well either, many of them are passed out of the body, unabsorbed, in urine, and it’s thought that they can cause negative affects on the health as well.

Ultimately, these are my two biggest reasons for skipping out on regular multi-vitmains. Your reasons may differ from mine. Do your research and see what you think.

If you wanna learn more about the vitamin industry, read this post by Mommypotamus called “What The Vitamin Industry Does Not Want You To Know“, and if you want me to throw a little confusion into the mix, check out this series of posts from Live To 110 on Synthetic vs. Food-Based Vitamins and 90% of Vitamins Are Fake. It offers a good look at both options and will hopefully give you some things to think about and ask vitamin companies you contact as well.

Now let’s move on to the more frequently asked questions I get about skipping daily multis.

Frequently Asked Questions About Skipping Multi-Vitamins

“So what can I do if I want to skip the daily multi?”

Well instead of me telling you what you should do, let me tell you what I do.

I first work hard at feeding my family healthy foods that are sourced and prepared correctly (and no, I’m not always perfect at this). I try to incorporate bone broth into our diets on a regular basis, lots of healthy fats, quality meats, organic produce for the things that need to be organic, food based probiotics, and I try to cut down on the junk and sweets we’d consume.

If for some reason life is busy and I’m not doing my best in the above area, there may be times when supplement with healthy, nutritious options like cod liver oil, probiotics, superfoods, and herbs. Not only do these supplements help to pull in some of the extra things that may be missing from our meals from time to time, but they help me not to stress about food 24/7. That’s a huge relief in and of itself.

I try to plan out our meals ahead of time, I try to shop for quality foods that don’t cost me an arm and a leg, and I try to keep meals simple and delicious. Planning meals saves me time and helps me know what types of foods we’re eating throughout the week. Working to keep meals simple and delicious also goes a long way. It keeps me from getting burned out in the kitchen, and it keeps my family happily eating the good foods I make them. Sourcing foods, whether it’s weekly sales ads or shopping in bulk or on Vitacost, saves me money because, let’s be real here… healthy foods can cost more money. I will say that we save quite a bit of money too due to not eating out as much and not buying as many prepackaged, convenience foods.

I also try to know a bit about deficiencies my kids may be prone to. If something catches my attention, I research it, and I work to correct it with foods before opting for supplements. I try to know about superfoods and herbs that add vitamins and minerals to the body as well and incorporate those into my kids diet.

Lastly, I make our own multi-vitamins. Well, sort of. I always try to have something in the house that I use in place of the typical multi-vitamins. Something usually from an herbal source like my herbal multi-vitamin balls, this spring tonic herb blend for adding to foods, and/or an herbal multi-vitamin infusion.

“Can I really nourish my child on food alone?”

Well that depends. It depends on how much time and money you have to put forward, but for the most part, yes, I think you can… if you’re diligent and intentional about it.

  • A mama who wanted to skip multi-vitamins all-together would have to be diligent in providing her family with healthy, real food, balanced meals that were from high-quality, organic sources and prepared properly.
  • She’d have to do her research, knowing the nutrients her child would need and where those nutrients would come from.
  • She’d have to buy healthy foods, then she’s have to prepare them properly, and she’d have to keep this up… learning and doing better as she goes.

Now let’s get back to reality for most of us moms. It’s rare to find a parent who can do this 100% for her family 100% of the time. No mama is perfect. No one will do it exactly right all the time. We all do better then we do worse. Thankfully there’s always more to learn and room to improve.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, skipping multi-vitamins is up to each individual parent to decide. You have to base that decision on your child’s health needs as well as how successful you can be at feeding them solid nutrition from foods. If it’s doable, go for it. If not, supplement, but definitely find a good quality vitamin. I mention my favorite here in this post. If something comes up with your child health-wise, maybe supplementation is the answer… maybe not. There’s no blanket option for everyone.

Next in the Nutrition For Kids series: How To Make Your Own Herbal Children’s Multi-Vitamin Formula

So tell me. Do you skip the multi-vitamins with your kids? If so, what do you do to ensure that they’re getting the adequate nutrition they need on a daily basis? If not, what’s your reasoning? Share with me in the comments below or jump on over to the Growing Up Herbal Facebook page and let me know your thoughts there!
  1. Jill York says:

    I sometimes give my girls SuperKids liquid multi-vitamin, but most of the time they get their major source of nutrition from fresh juicing, herbal smoothies, and herbal teas.

    • Meagan says:

      Oh I completely forgot to look into Beeyoutiful vitamins for my supplement post Jill! I’m so glad you mentioned them. I know a lot of people love them, but I’ve not done much research into them. At what age can kids take that one?? Does it have iron? Anyway, I’ll look into that one too. It never hurts to have a few brands you can go to when you wanna supplement with vitamins. Thanks for the reminder! And yes! I love the juicing, smoothies, and teas for nutrition!

  2. Loriel @ Healthy Roots, Happy Soul says:

    I really love this series. It is so incredibly helpful — thank you!

  3. Lauren says:

    I am so thankful for your website!! We seem to approach things quite similarly. What’s really been getting me lately is that I don’t have time to learn everything I need to know and so I can’t do everything I want too. I am trying to remember what you wrote once and take it one step at a time. Even worse- I am so exhausted!!! What few moments I have to even just have quiet time without kids or a husband in my ear I find I am researching and trying to learn. It’s tiring. And it’s really getting me down and I start feeling like this is too big a task. Any encouraging words on how to get through this are most definately welcome!

    • Meagan says:

      I hear you Lauren, and I can totally relate. I too tend to want to do it all right away, but the beauty of living naturally is in the slowing down, making one change at a time, and continuing to do better each day.

      I’ve always said to start small. Make easy changes first because they’ll help you to feel good about being healthier or living more naturally.

      Also, try not to overwhelm yourself with info. Pick one area you wanna focus on. Maybe that’s switching to all natural cleaners and making them yourself in order to save money. Get even more specific by picking one area of your home to switch to natural cleaners first… like the kitchen. Maybe you wanna focus on food first. Start by learning how to meal plan or by slowly replacing unhealthy drinks with healthier ones. Maybe you wanna slowly switch out your unhealthy kitchenware for healthier versions. Read up on what’s the best choice for you, then go to amazon.com and create a wishlist. Start to slowly replace the bad for the good.

      Those are just some suggestions. It can be super easy to burn out because a lot of us feel that we have to do everything overnight when that’s not the case. I’m far ahead of where I was 2 years ago today, and I know I’ll be even further ahead 2 years from now. I just need to pick my battles and focus there until I have the hang of it. Hope that helps you and gives you some great starter ideas! Thanks for your comment… I’m always here to help!

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks for the response. Something just clicked for me while reading it. I think what I’m going to do is sit down and write out a list (very long list;) of all the things I want to eventually do and then prioritize. I will take one at a time with the mindset of reaching that next goal. Don’t know why this never occurred to me before (can I blame the way to many sleepless nights and my baby cutting his first teeth lately 😉 but hey now is better than never. I feel like I have more direction now. Thank you!!

  4. Lauren says:

    Totally forgot- one more question. I believe my daughter needs probiotic support right now. You mentioned whole food probiotics- what are you referring to? Any options other than yogurt as I am trying to limit my daughters dairy/milk intake. Thank you!

    • Meagan says:

      No problem Lauren. You can get probiotics from foods… mainly cultured dairy like yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour creams, and cultured butters, but you can also get it from fermented foods as well like sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented veggies. Check out the probiotics section of this post on how to replace supplements for children with real foods. If those won’t work for her, you can always us any of the supplements mentioned in this post on the 5 best natural supplements for kids – I’ve listed several options there. Hope that helps!

  5. Kristin says:

    This is something I’m always wondering about. My kids eat very well, but whenever we go to the Doctor (for the once a year check-up) he’s always asking about vitamins. Thanks for the great post.

    • Meagan says:

      How funny is that Kristin! My kids doctors NEVER ask that at well-child checkups. I guess it goes to show how it’s different for everyone. I’d be curious in knowing what you tell them (if you skip the vitamins) and what they say about it. Some doctors are big vitamin advocates and others don’t mind parents skipping them at all if the child is healthy and seems to be eating a good diet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *