It is probably impossible to find parents who don't care about their children's nutrition. Even a novice parent knows we should pay attention to what our kids eat.

We can read every blog post and parenting book out there, but we all know one thing to be true: no parent is perfect. We all come up short every once in a while.

That's why many of us turn to vitamin supplements. We can't always ensure our kids get every morsel of their recommended daily intake for every nutrient out there.

You've Been Believing a Lie

Many natural health experts, marketing teams, and mainstream media outlets will tell you these vitamin supplements are essential.

That's a lie. And this information should come as a relief — you're doing better than you thought!

The American Academy of Pediatrics says most kids can meet the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals with their diet alone. In fact, they don't recommend a daily multivitamin for youngsters.

Your Money Is Better Spent Elsewhere

Rather than pour billions of dollars into the supplement market each year, parents should use that money to invest in healthy meals.

Encourage your kids to eat more fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, dairy products and lean proteins. As long as you have a healthy eater, you should be fine.

There Are Always Exceptions

Naturally, there are exceptions to the rules. There are a few instances where children do need a little help.

But it is important to note that multivitamins aren't necessarily the answer. Filling your youngster with excess, unnecessary nutrients can actually do more harm than good. Rather, focus on the individual shortcomings your child may be struggling with.

Autoimmune diseases are often accompanied by vitamin deficiencies. For example, experts have found a link between vitamin D and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Crohn's disease. Ask your doctor to do a blood test; see if your child is coming up short.

Vegetarians and vegans sometimes struggle to meet their daily intake of protein, iron, calcium and vitamin B12 — nutrients commonly found in animal products. There are non-animal sources for these nutrients, but vitamin B12 is the most difficult to come by (usually only found in certain fortified cereals and nutritional yeast). If you can't get your youngster to eat these limited food offerings, you might need vitamin B12 supplements.

Children who are lactose intolerant might need calcium supplements. Even the healthiest eater might balk at some of the dairy-free calcium offerings — foods like sardines, figs, Bok Choy, kale, and seaweed definitely have an acquired taste!

Doctors also point to four other types of kids who might need supplements:

  • Picky eaters
  • Kids who drink tons of soda
  • Kids who often dine on fast food or processed foods
  • Anyone who isn't eating a healthy, balanced diet

These four groups of kids bring us right back to our original point: it is so important to encourage healthy eating habits.

Best Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating

Rather than take the easy out and offer kids supplements to compensate for our lack of parental involvement in the dining process, find ways to encourage your kids to eat better foods.

Since no two kids are alike, there isn't a universal strategy. However, there are a few things you can try.

1. Be a Good Role Model

If you want your kids to eat their carrots, you had better do it too! Set a good example and your kids will be eager to follow your lead.

2. Don't Give Up

Research shows a child needs to be exposed to a new food as much as 11 times before acquiring a taste for it. Just keep introducing a food — even if your child says he or she doesn't like it. Encourage a bite — just one if that is all you can get. Over time, your youngster will come to appreciate it.

3. Don't Force Your Kids to Clean Their Plate

Kids need to learn when they are full; otherwise, they'll become overeaters. Rather than eat everything, encourage them to try everything. If they are hungry again in an hour, they'll learn to eat more during meal time! Plus, if you use a "clean your plate" philosophy, you're more likely to give out smaller portions than normal so meals don't last forever.

4. Find Fun Ways to Incorporate Healthy Foods

Cut foods into your kids' favorite shapes or designs with cookie cutters. Arrange the food so it makes a face. There are lots of ways to make food fun.

Help your kids create healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Then, ditch the supplements!

What do you think of this earth-shattering claim? Have you been giving your kids vitamin supplements? Do they really need them?