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19 Months Old

Vitamins For A Picky Eater?

My toddler is a picky eater. Should he take a multivitamin?

Most toddlers are picky eaters! It’s not at all uncommon for a toddler to suddenly become fixated on one food — and ignore all others. Or for a toddler to only eat things that are one color, or to restrict his food intake to four or five favorite foods. Remember: Toddlers are beginning to realize that they’re independent human beings, and they love exercising their ability to make choices.

Stop focusing on what your child isn’t eating, and take a good look at what he is eating over the course of a week. If, during the week, your toddler is eating a variety of foods from each food group, he’s probably fine. If he’s completely missing (or barely touching) certain food groups, he might need a nutritional boost. Toddlers who refuse to eat meat (or are vegetarian) may be short on iron or vitamin B12. And almost all toddlers (and adults) will benefit from some vitamin D supplementation, as it can be hard to get the recommended amount of 400 IUs (International Units) from dairy products alone.

So while most kids don’t need a multivitamin, many end up taking a multivitamin because it’s easier to find a kid-friendly multivitamin than individual vitamin supplements. “The most convenient way to do vitamin supplementation, I’ve found, is with a multivitamin,” says Michael Lee, MD, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. “The advice I give parents is to let your child pick the multivitamin so we know it’s one they’ll take. I also advise parents to make sure the vitamin contains 400 IUs of vitamin D and tell them that if they have a choice of iron vs. no iron, to get one with iron. A lot of kids have iron-deficient diets, and iron deficiency can cause developmental delays.”

Plus, more from The Bump:

Healthy Meal Ideas for Toddlers

Top 10 Toddler Cookbooks

Advice for Healthy Toddler Eating

By Michael Lee, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center and pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center Dallas