Are Vitamin Pills Important?


The question of vitamin pills is only one of many that diligent parents ponder.

By FamilyTime

 

All parents want their kids to grow up strong and healthy, ready to take on the world. For most of us this means making sure our kids get enough sleep and plenty of exercise and eat a healthful diet. And maybe as a precaution…pop a vitamin pill every day

Vitamin pills, taken correctly, are not going to hurt your kids and may even benefit them, yet before you stock up, talk to the pediatrician.

Vitamin pill or not,the doctor will most likely advise you to feed your children a nourishing, balanced diet. Healthy children and adults who eat correctly may not need vitamin pills. Their daily nutritional needs are met by the wide range of foods they eat.

What is a Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet should be approximately 50 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein. Easy, right? These numbers need to be understood to be effective. For example, they do not mean you should feed your kids huge bowls of pasta drenched in butter and melted cheese with a side of sliced steak!

A balanced diet includes a wide variety of foods with the emphasis on whole foods and grains. Lots of veggies that come in hues of green, red, orange, and purple Whole fruits (rather than fruit juice). Pasta and bread made from whole grains, and “alternative grains,” such as farro, quinoa, and bulgur served as often as brown rice. Meat, cheese, and sweets in moderation.

Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy and to fuel our brains. We mostly need nutrient-dense complex carbs such as vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, and fruit.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, too, but it’s pretty useless compared to complex carbs. (See Dreaded Sugar.) Limit this simple carbohydrate (tough with kids but oh-so important).

We also need fat. This is hard for some folks to believe, but good fats are necessary for vitamin absorption, cell functioning and a healthy immune system. As with carbohydrates, it’s the kind of fat you eat that makes all the difference.

Stick with unsaturated fats present in oils such as olive, canola and nut, and found in lean poultry and fish, as well. Steer clear of buttery desserts, cheese-laden pizzas, fatty burgers and anything “super sized," wrapped in bacon and smothered with goopy melted cheese.

Finally, we need protein for growth, healthy development (so vital during childhood), and energy. Happily a relatively little protein goes a long way and it’s easy to find in both animal- and plant-based foods.

Protein is available in meat, dairy, fish and poultry, and it’s also abundant in legumes, soy, lentils and nuts as well as veggies.

Most nutritionists recommend eating fish twice a week (for its omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients) and getting our protein from lean poultry, low-fat dairy, and lots of beans and legumes, soy products, kale and other leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, squash, peas...you get the idea!

You Are What You Eat

If you’re aware of dietary guidelines and try to adhere to healthful and nutritious eating patterns, chances are your kids will be healthy and strong. Try new foods, shop at farmer’s markets to discover them, and make an effort to change up the menu so that you aren’t stuck in a rut.

Everyone will benefit and you’ll discover that a well fed family is a happy one!