Vitamins and minerals for toddlers and preschoolers

"I do not like vegetables!" In order to reinforce his words, Dirk-Jan pushes his plate away from him. "But darling, vegetables are healthy for you, there are all vitamins in them!" His mother tries another helpless attempt. "And yet I think they are bah, bah, BAH!" Dirk-Jan recalls. And then his mouth is locked ... How do those vitamins get their belly in Dirk-Jan?

What are vitamins?

The word vitamin is derived from 'vital'. This means 'necessary for life'. We get vitamins mainly through our food. If we get insufficient vitamins due to poor nutrition or poor absorption of nutrients in the intestines, certain symptoms can occur.
The body can make a number of vitamins itself, but only in small quantities so that supplementation from food is necessary. The only vitamin that is produced in sufficient amounts by the body itself is vitamin K.

The importance of vitamins

Vitamins are substances that are needed in small quantities for all kinds of processes in the body, such as growth and development, digestive functions and the regulation of cell functions. Research has shown that the absorption of sufficient vitamins lowers the cholesterol level, wound healing faster and more sperm cells are produced. Good to know for everyone who wants to become pregnant ...! When you absorb enough vitamins, your resistance is built up against colds or flu. Did you know that vitamin C, E and beta carotene have a beneficial inhibitory effect on the aging process? Always good to know ...!


In addition to vitamins, our bodies also need minerals every day. With minerals you have to think of calcium, magnesium and sodium.

Eating with the pot

If your child is one year old, he may 'eat with the pot'. From that moment on, his intestines can digest some coarser food, so your toddler or toddler can eat more varied food. However, keep in mind that the food is not too greasy, not too salty and not too seasoned.

Need differs

You will soon find out that your child does not have the same need every day. One day he will eat more than the other day. In proportion, a toddler will eat less than in his baby time. But do not forget that he has grown enormously in his baby time! On average from about three to as much as seven kilos! And where it grows ... must be eaten! After a year, this speed of growth (happy) decreases and your child therefore has less need for food.

No vegetables, bad?

It is more common that a toddler does not like vegetables, but if he does eat fruit, there is actually not much going on. In fact, there are also a lot of vitamins in fruit! Preferably three pieces of fruit in one day with wholemeal products (bread, brown rice, brown macaroni) and it is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Is not your child also a fruit eater? Then he is crazy about a delicious, freshly made smoothie! The most delicious drinks can be made from fresh fruit that children and adults love! And at the same time these smoothies are an absolute vitamin shot!

How many vitamins and minerals?

As long as your child is active and is growing well, it is actually fine. Of course there are guidelines that children from 1 to 4 years, about within 'must' get. You can find the amount that your toddler needs in this table.

Required vitamins

Vitamin aBoysGirls
A (mcg RE / day)400400
B1 (mg / day)0,30,3
B2 (mg / day)0,50,5
B3 (mg niacin / day)44
B5 (mg / day)22
B6 (mg / day)0,40,4
B8 (mcg / day)--
B11, folic acid (mcg / day)8585
B12 (mcg / day)0,70,7
C (mg / day)4040
D b (mcg / day)55
E (áTE / day)5,75,7

a Units shown in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg), RE = retinol units, NE = nicotine equivalents, áTE / day = alpha tocopherol units
b Applies to children with a light skin color who are out for at least 15 minutes every day with in any case the hands and face uncovered
- no ADH established in the Netherlands

Required minerals

Mineral aBoysGirls
Calcium (mg / day)500500
Magnesium (mg / day)60-7060-70
Phosphorus (mg / day)400-800400-800
Iron (mg / day)77
Zinc (mg / day)44
Copper (mg / day)0,3-0,70,3-0,7
Selenium (mcg / day)10-3010-30
Chromium (mcg / day)--

a Units shown in milligrams (mg) and micrograms (mcg)
- no ADH was established in the Netherlands

Guidelines for a healthy menu for your toddler

  • 1 - 3 slices of bread per day
  • 1 - 2 servings of fruit
  • 1 - 2 potatoes, rice or pasta
  • 1 -2 serving spoons of vegetables
  • half a liter of milk products
  • 5 grams of margarine (on bread) and 15 grams for the preparation
  • 2 - 3 cups of milk
  • 50-75 grams of meat, fish or egg
  • half slice of cheese
  • half slice of meat products
  • Drink 1 liter

Dietary supplements

The experts are not yet sure whether the use of dietary supplements is necessary for children. They are divided in their opinion. One group thinks so, the other group does not think it is necessary as long as children eat healthy and varied food. Of course you have the latter in your hand.


Dietary supplements are only a supplement to the diet and can never act as a replacement. Most of the vitamins and minerals your child has to get from food. There is nothing like a homemade meal prepared with natural and fresh ingredients. A pill or powder can never match or replace the quality of these nutrients. If you are considering giving your child nutritional supplements, this is always an addition to the meal and never as a substitute for the meal.

Especially for children

Food supplements that are especially suitable for children are available on the market. Pay attention to this, because the nutritional supplements - and the associated dosage - for adults are even extremely suitable for children.

Recommended amount

On the package of the supplements you will find the recommended daily amount. This amount depends on the age of your child. Stick to this dosage and keep the supplements in a safe place where your child can not, because an overdose of vitamin A and D can be very harmful and even dangerous.

Vitamin D

A group of experts (Health Council and a special committee) is of the opinion that toddlers need extra vitamin D for strong teeth and bones. According to a message on the website, a quarter of the children do not get this. Children up to four years old would not be able to take enough vitamin D through the skin and they would not be able to get enough vitamin D from the diet. However, if your child drinks follow-on milk or toddler milk, additional vitamin D is already being processed and extra intake is not necessary. Children from 4 years and adults make enough vitamin D itself, by the sunlight that shines on the skin.

Opinions divided

Opinions differ on the intake of vitamin D too. For example, if you read this article, you will see that Stefan Kleintjes has his own opinion about this. He writes here:

'The new nutrition guidelines for infants and toddlers of the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate state that babies need vitamin D from two weeks onwards. Furthermore, it says: "In addition to supplementation with vitamin D, no other vitamin and mineral supplements are needed from the age of three months, provided the child has a normal diet."


"I find the recommendation to give vitamin D sometimes exaggerated, especially in the summer, when babies make vitamin D from sunlight. In some countries, vitamin D is only recommended in risk cases: children with dark skin in a cold climate, children whose mothers never leave or only heavily veiled, children who are full-time in nurseries in the inner city and little outside. And premature babies. "

New advice

The new advice is 10 micrograms per day for all children up to 4 years and also for all pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. Parents also hear this from the CB and the midwife.
Vitamin D does not only play a role in strengthening the bones, but recently it has also become known that children with a deficiency of vitamin D more often have type 1 diabetes.

Fish oil

The importance of fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) for a child is great. Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on memory, thinking ability, concentration and the learning process. It is therefore important that the diet of everyone, but certainly of a child, contains enough omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is why oily fish is recommended once or twice a week. But not everyone likes oily fish, especially children. Fish oil in a capsule is then a possible solution.

Video: Should My Child Take Vitamins? PEDIATRIC ADVICE

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