Nutritional drinks for adults and children of all ages line grocery store shelves. These packaged liquid supplements contain various nutrients formulated to help individuals meet their daily requirements of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Many parents may wonder whether the nutritional benefits of these supplements outweigh the cost.
Like adults, children require specific amounts of certain nutrients for optimal health. The Institute of Medicine recommends that children between the ages of 4 and 8 consume 5 IU of vitamin D, 25 mg of vitamin C, 800 mg of calcium and 130 mg of magnesium every day, among other nutrients. While many children consume adequate amounts of nutrients through healthy diets, drink supplements may help kids with poor diets and picky eaters obtain the necessary nutrients.
Children’s drink supplements come in a variety of flavors and formulas. While the amount of nutrients may vary by manufacturer, most contain basic nutrients, such as protein, calcium, vitamins C and D, as well as fiber.
While your child may not require nutritional supplements to meet his needs, these drinks may provide a healthy alternative to fast foods and sugary snacks. The premeasured bottles allow parents to pack these drinks in children’s lunches or their backpacks. They also are convenient to carry in the car or take on hikes.
Pediatric drink supplements contain specific amounts of nutrients to help meet the needs of growing children, rather than the needs of adults. According to Oklahoma State University Extension, children need more protein per pound of body weight than adults require. Many varieties of drink supplements are flavored to appeal to children.
Relying on a children’s drink supplement to supply adequate nutrients, rather than a balanced diet, may lead to excess amounts of certain nutrients and inadequate amounts of others. A healthy diet that includes a range of foods from every food group can help guard against nutritional deficiencies in growing children. Talk to your pediatrician before giving your child nutritional supplements, including fortified beverages.