As a parent you want what is best for your little guy or gal, especially when it comes to their health and the foods they eat every day. That is pretty easy to control when your child is a newborn who relies on you for 100 percent of their meals and snacks. IF you’re breastfeeding, you make certain your eating the foods you and your baby need. If you’re formula feeding, you make certain you have the best formula your baby can have in order to get all the healthy vitamins and minerals they require.
At this point in your child’s life, everything is all great and well because you supply and make sure they have everything they should. That is until you hit the time they start to develop their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food.
Whether you’ve got a picky toddler or a stubborn teen or pre-teen, once a child has learned they control what ultimately goes into their stomachs, you may just have a problem getting all the recommended food groups into their diet. So, if like many parents you wonder if your picky eater is getting all the vitamins and nutrients their body needs, keep reading to learn more.
Here are some signs your child may be lacking in one or more areas of nutrition and things to do if he or she is.
Poor or Slow Growth – One of the reasons children have so many appointments when they are young is to monitor their growth rate. If your doctor notices your child isn’t growing at a normal rate or suddenly starts slipping away from their prior rate of growth for their current age, they may very well ask you about the child’s dietary habits. From there, they’ll make a decision as to how to proceed to make certain the child is getting all the nutrients their growing body and mind needs.
Developmental Problems – Some children who are not receiving adequate nutrition will start to show slowing or no progress in certain developmental areas.
Energy Levels below Normal – Deficiencies in iron, found in red meats, spinach, beans and more, can usually be a cause of low or decreased energy levels. If your child seems to be less energetic or more sleepy than usual, think about how their diet may have changed. Most problems with lack of iron can be corrected by adding iron rich foods to the diet. Others may require a supplement in order to maintain proper levels of iron in the body. Talk with your pediatrician if your child refuses to eat foods with iron in them or shows signs of an iron deficiency.
While most cases of vitamin and nutrient deficiency are pretty easy to spot, realize that certain ones such as calcium may not be as obvious. If you have concerns about whether your child is getting everything they need from their finicky choices, talk with your child’s pediatrician first. They may be able to suggest a multi-vitamin or other option to help you see that your child gets the things their diet is lacking.
Keep in mind, if your child suddenly experiences a lack of interest in foods they once enjoyed, it could be something more serious. It’s not uncommon for a child’s eating habits to change when there is a sudden alteration in their lives, such as parents divorcing, an illness or another significant event.
If you’re concerned about your child’s eating patterns or whether they are getting all the vitamins and minerals their body needs, don’t hesitate to get help. Your pediatrician can help put you on the right path with tips and suggestions for getting your child the foods they need. They can also determine if supplements or multi-vitamins are necessary to get your child where they need to be health wise.