Many Parents Of Picky Eaters Use Dietary Supplements In Place Of Vegetables

Dad-of-two Frank Cammalleri takes mealtime seriously as a personal trainer and nutritionist.

This simple dinner consists of carrots, collard greens, and onions, stir-fried with chicken – a colorful dish bursting with vitamins and protein.

Cammalleri told Insider, “My youngest, yeah, he was a little fickle and a little picky to my taste. Not totally what I expected.”

Several years ago, Cammalleri put his son on a regular dietary supplement regimen because he was worried he wasn’t getting enough vitamins and nutrients.

The father said, “Wherever I see what he’s not eating, I try to fill that gap.”


Cammalleri isn’t the only parent using supplements. New surveys suggest parents are vital buyers of dietary supplements in the U.S.

Half of 1,251 parents polled by the University of Michigan say they rely on supplements. A German study found that supplement use among kids increased from 2014 to 2019.

Child nutrition can impact weight, bone density, eyesight, mood, and other health indicators. Mayo Clinic recommends feeding children a nutrient-dense diet with little added sugars and saturated fats.

According to Dr. Mona Amin, a board certified pediatrician who has not worked with Cammalleri, supplements to achieve a balanced diet are not a bad idea. Amin said it’s not something she’d recommend lightly.

The effectiveness of many supplements has never been proven, and there are real risks associated with them if the dosage is incorrect, especially in children.


Having felt that school lunches do a poor job of providing nutrition, Cammalleri began giving his kids supplements.

Cammalleri said, “I see that their menu is mostly carbs. I think it’s preventing my kids from learning more than they should and what they can learn in school.”

Alyson Martinez, a Registered dietician, told Insider parents often supply children with dietary supplements since “it’s rare to find a child at school who eats well.”

Parents need not run to the supplement aisle despite concerns over school lunches. Kids can still get the nutrients they need from breakfast, dinner, and snacks.

Ideally, healthy children only need a varied diet – a diet with various fruits, vegetables, spices, and probiotics – proper sleep, hydration, exercise, and sun exposure.

The pediatrician will sometimes prescribe a daily multivitamin whenever a child does not like eating fruit and vegetables.