Staring at the supplements shelf with all the vitamins & minerals on offer can make even the most seasoned shopper do a runner, but stand your ground because a daily multivitamin is a good way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Remember that popping a pill is not, and never will be, a substitute for a balanced diet – supplementing simply makes sure nothing falls through the cracks.
How much should we be supplementing our diets?
When you are supplementing your diet, one-a-day means just that – one a day. You can get too much of a good thing so don’t double up if all you’ve had to eat all day is a peanut butter sarmie.
Most vitamins can be taken any time of the day, though fat soluble vitamins are better absorbed with meals. B-vitamins are water soluble, so you can take them with or without food at any time of the day. That said, I’d suggest you take B vitamins in the morning because of the role they play in energy production, not something you want too much of at night! The reality is that your body takes what it needs, so take it when it suits you best, which is when you’re most likely to remember it!
What about children – do they need supplements?
If your kids are anything like mine were, food strikes are common and they somehow convinced the dog to love broccoli (who knew?), so I get that you’re worried about your kids missing out on a few key vitamins. The general consensus is that healthy young children don’t need supplements, with the exception of the omegas, assuming the foods they do eat are real foods. If you have a very fussy, or plant-based little eater in the house, supplementing is a good way to ensure they get their daily fix.
Healthy eating tips
As Yoda might’ve said: “Eat more real food, you must. Eat less junk food, you will” And who could argue with the great one! When it comes to the real food part, my recommendations are:
1) Focus on plants. Eat more fruit and veg, you can’t overdo those. Sadly, potatoes as chips don’t count. Use healthy plant oils like olive and avo, and up your healthy fats from nuts.
2) Pick healthy proteins like chicken and fish, not burgers and hot dogs. Avoid the processed stuff as much as possible, if not altogether, as they tend to be packed with sugars, spice and nothing very nice.
3) Make your grains whole grains – switch from white to brown in all things carb. You are not a slave to your tastebuds – they will get over it!
It may be a cliché, but it’s true — it doesn’t have to be hell to be healthy. Make small, permanent changes that you can live with until they can become habit, and then pick another small change to tackle. Don’t feel guilty about a bad meal or an unhealthy weekend, just pick right back up where you left off and get back to meandering in the right direction.
A note from Vital’s Experts:
Vital offers a range of multivitamin and mineral options to suit your requirements. Take a look at the multivitamins range for more information on each product: https://www.vital.co.za/multivitamins/