One of the hazards of working as a health editor is knowing just a little too much for my own good. For instance, although my kids clamor for the sugar-coated, rainbow-hued sour worms and gummies, I am well aware that these pseudo-candy chewables are probably not the optimal nutrient-supplementation choice for developing young bodies—nor cavity-prone baby teeth. On the other side of the equation, there’s our family’s growing collection of near-full vitamin-bottle rejects. One scrunched-up face and it’s sayonara, bottle.
From commiserating with fellow moms, I know I’m far from alone. Hence, my self-assigned mission at this week’s Natural Products Expo West—the search for the perfect balance of palatability and effective nutrition in a kids’ multi. I’ve made a short list of booths to visit.
PETER GILLHAM’S NATURAL VITALITY (Booth #1304)
Multi: Natural Kids Calm
My daughter often complains of growing pains, which has me thinking that along with calcium, she may need more magnesium (a key component of all Natural Vitality products) to help with bone formation and muscle function. Liquid in form, this multi also includes sustainably fished, brain-nourishing omega-3 DHA and EPA, so there’s no need for a separate fish oil supplement. Organic orange splash flavor is sweetened by herbal stevia and agave, raising the odds it’ll score high with my kid critics!
VITALAH (Booth #1982)
Multi: Children’s Oxylent
My picky duo recently tried this Bubbly Berry Punch flavored effervescent powder—and lo, they drank it all up. Sweetened with stevia and organic cane sugar, kids’ Oxylent provides 800 IU vitamin D (the higher dose our doctor has recommended) as well as zinc and vitamin C for a solid immune boost. It also offers calcium and magnesium for growing bodies. Its award-winning mineral chelates are said to be much better absorbed by the body then your average multi. And daily doses come prepacked in individual tubes, making them convenient to throw into a lunchbox or the car—where, added to a water bottle, they promote hydration. I’m a big fan so far!
MEGAFOOD (Booth #1252)
Multi: Kid’s One Daily
Squeamish or very young kiddos, beware: This multi does require swallowing, but just one “mini-tablet”—and the whole-food nutrition plusses seem well worth the effort. Made with a variety of fresh raw foods including organic brown rice, cabbage, broccoli, cranberries, carrots, oranges, and nutritional yeast, Kid’s One Daily helps fill the gaps in less-than-ideal diets with 24 essential nutrients and immune-boosting antioxidants. Another big plus compared to many chewables: It has NO sweeteners, preservatives, fractionated oils, waxes, colors or flavors. This seems like a great vitamin to graduate to!
RAINBOW LIGHT (Booth #1614)
Kids One Multistars, Gummy Bear Essentials Multivitamin & Mineral
Full disclosure: my kids have tried the Kids One Multistars, which are a convenient, well-formulated option, but the fructose-sweetened tropical flavor wasn’t love at first chew. That’s why I’m excited to try Rainbow Light’s Gummy Bear version: The nutrition balance is even more complete—almost 100% of Daily Value for most nutrients, with the addition of a separate cal-mag supplement. They come in single-serve packets of three gummies. Another unique offering: NutriStart Multivitamin Powder, for infants age 6 months up to kids age 4.
SOURCE NATURALS (Booth #1716)
Another chewable kids one-a-day, MegaKid is made with high-quality, bioavailable nutrients—especially high in B vitamins and C—and includes great extras like food concentrates (broccoli, cabbage, spinach), extracts of bilberry fruit and pomegranate seed, spirulina and other green foods, oat bran fiber, bee pollen, citrus bioflavonoids, and more. Sweetened with fructose, natural fruit flavors, and stevia, it’s also very low in sugars, only 2 grams per serving. As with most other multis, you may want to add a cal-mag supplement.
Do you have a favorite kids multi? Which one, and why does your family like it?