Different Vitamin Formats for Kids
What are the various formats kids' supplements come in? Which is best?
So, you’ve concluded that you want to provide some nutritional support via supplements to your little ones. Great idea! It’s always valuable to give your kids a healthy head start, especially for picky eaters!
The next step – picking out ones that are right for your child.
But wait, there are multiple formats kids' supplements come in: liquid, sprays, gummies and chewables. Which one is best?
Chewable vitamins or tablets, are a classic supplement format (who remembers Flintstone vitamins?) that have been around for many years.
It's a great option for ages 4 and up, or if a child has difficulty swallowing pills. Aside from being tasty and dissolvable, a major benefit is the fact that chewables can be made with a good density of nutrition. In other words, there is a higher vitamin/mineral content that can be packed into a chewable tablet than a gummy, for example.
A downfall of chewables is the sometimes-chalky texture described by some.
Recommend if: your child is 4+, does not mind chewing, and you are concerned with amount of nutrition per serving.
Liquid is also popular amongst kids of all ages. Often supplements (or medicine) that are in liquid form are recommended for ages 1-13.
In terms of nutrition, liquid is a highly recommended option. The amount of nutrients per serving is generally high, and liquid is touted for being fast absorbing. It’s a great option for kids that do not want to chew on a tablet, swallow a pill, and want to have the supplement given quick and easy.
Most liquids are flavoured in kid-friendly flavours, just look out for ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, colours or sugar.
Recommend if: your child is above 1, too young for chewables, or you prefer to give them it in a quick and easy format.
The spray format is technically liquid as well, except that it comes with a nozzle that is sprayed into the child’s mouth. This is recommended for young children, ages 1-3.
This is a fuss-free format where the supplement is easily administered, absorbed and done.
There are two drawbacks that need to be considered:
If the child is older than 3, the amount of nutrition needed is higher and hence more sprays are needed. Though fun, it’s more economical to buy liquid or chewables at this stage.
Some children may squirm at first...it may be a good idea to spray water as practice if your kid flinches.
Recommend if: you have a toddler.
Gummy supplements (for both kids and adults) have taken the vitamin world by storm as of recently. For children, as expected, it’s more enticing to have a gummy supplement over other formats (if your child likes candy and chewy textures).
However, a drawback that parents must consider is that in order to make it a tasty treat, it’s often also coupled with the things that make gummies a candy – sugars, artificial colours or sweeteners. Because of additives and the format, the amount of nutrition per serving is also lower, so you may need to take 4 gummies to get a serving size similar to liquid or chewables. If the gummy also has sugar added, you can see it can add up as well.
Recommend if: your child will not consume any other formats, you do not mind added ingredients (or found one that has none and still tastes great).
Which is best? We asked our Registered Holistic Nutritionists to weigh in
Chewable tablets are great, as are liquids... and gummies are the most desired by kids.
Gummies are a fun idea for kids as they resemble candy and are fun to eat. However, there is some additional “buyer beware” here. Sometimes, gummies do not have the same amount per serving of nutrients and often contain sugar and other ingredients to make it desirable. Consumers should always read the ingredients and labels to be sure of these added ingredients.
However, when it comes down to it, kids will eat gummies. So, if parents are struggling with chewables or liquids, it may be an option for parents.