Whilst I am a big advocate for eating a well-balanced plant-based diet to get the nutrients our body requires to thrive and excel sometimes it is just not enough and we need the extra therapeutic benefits of supplements. In these instances, specific nutrients and herbs may be prescribed to you or your family by your healthcare practitioner for a specific treatment purpose.
Supplements and herbs can have amazing benefits but only if they are taken in the doses prescribed. This is not always easy when children are involved. Things such as taste and texture can have a huge affect on whether a child will agree to take their supplements. This means as parents we may need to get a bit creative and look for imaginative ways of disguising these supplements.
- DO NOT insert your ideas about whether it tastes good or bad. This not only applies to supplements, but to any nutritious food or drink. Let your child make up their own mind….they may surprise you!
- Lead by example – if you are taking supplements yourself take them together with your children
- Start with neutral tasting supplements first (i.e. probiotics, most multi vitamins) before moving on to stronger tasting ones (i.e. zinc)
- Be honest about what you are doing. Children don’t like to be lied to and your credibility will go out the window when they find out
- Use positive reinforcement
- Be consistent and firm
- Never put into their favourite food or drink
- Older kids can learn to swallow pills with various aids
- Syringes can be extremely helpful. Ensure delivery is between back gum and cheek to avoid tastebuds
- Put liquids in a covered container to hide the smell and colour
- Smoothies – give with a small amount of smoothie first, then drink the rest unadulterated
- Tart, dark juice such as pomegranate, blueberry, cherry will mask flavours and colours
- Add to a little bit of frozen grape juice concentrate, maple syrup, honey, stevia, xylitol or sugar-free, homemade chocolate syrup to add some sweetness and mask the flavour
- Add to jelly shots made with quality gelatine or popsicles made with fresh fruit juice
- Baked into something if heat resistant. Check the label or with your healthcare practitioner.
- Mix into peanut or other nut/seed butter
- If bitter, mix with a savory food
If after trying these suggestions you are still having trouble getting your child to take their supplements, contact your healthcare practitioner for additional advice. They may be able to swap out a specific product for another better tasting one and/or provide you with additional tips.