Q: What is the best way for my child to receive adequate vitamins and minerals for a well balanced diet?

The best way for your child to receive adequate vitamins and minerals is to provide her with a well balanced diet. You have ultimate control over what your child consumes at breakfast, lunch and dinner; therefore, focus on providing a balanced diet at meal and snack times.

Through the combination of balanced meals and active lifestyles, your child can form healthy habits and have a better understanding of what keeps him strong. Children who develop these habits at an early age will carry it into adulthood and maintain a healthy nutritional balance. Your child may often demand certain food items because of her taste range and personal likes and dislikes. When you give into these demands, you are essentially depriving your child nutrients needed for growing minds. Be proactive when serving meals to your children-- understanding their likes and dislikes-- but supplementing disliked foods with likeable ones that contain the same vitamins and minerals.

If your family practices veganism, consult a pediatric nutritionist to ensure your child is still receiving proper nutrition. In other cases, if your child has severe food allergies or disorder, she might need supplements. You should consider supplements when her allergies have been properly diagnosed.  Another tip is to provide enough variety in her diet to ensure she expands her tastes while practicing a healthy lifestyle.

If you are breastfeeding, let your infant's pediatrician know if your diet is restricted for any reason.  If you strictly breastfeed your newborn or infant, take vitamin D to ensure healthy growth and development.  To help determine what is best for your child, discuss his or her diet and eating habits with a pediatrician.

Christy Valentine, MD, a native of New Orleans, LA, is an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics physician whose practice, located in Gretna, serves the greater New Orleans area by providing urgent care as well as primary care for patients from all walks of life. She believes maintaining a strong doctor-patient relationship is vital to the ongoing health, wellness and recovery of this community. The mission of Valentine Medical Center to put patients first, is a mission she lives by every day.