Hiya and Llama Naturals each make quality multivitamins for kids, but which one should you buy?
Let’s compare sugar content, texture, price, packaging, and ingredients, plus what some moms might consider the most important question: will my toddler even like it?
Here we go…
Sugar and Sweeteners
Let’s face it: toddlers want stuff that tastes good. The problem is, many companies think “tastes good” means sugar – and lots of it.
Not these brands, though. Both Hiya and Llama Naturals steer clear of added sugar. So, how do they get their vitamins sweet enough to appeal to picky toddlers?
For Hiya, monk fruit extract and a hint of mannitol create that sweet flavor kids crave. Monk fruit’s unique antioxidants give it a powerful sweetness to rival sugar, and mannitol is a sweetener found naturally in fruits and vegetables. No wonder dentists suggest it as a sugar alternative.
Llama Naturals pares things back even further. Although each vitamin contains 1.5g of sugar, all of its sweetness comes from real fruit and vegetables, nothing more. That’s great news for your toddler’s teeth, but it means Llama Naturals vitamins don’t taste as sweet as other multivitamins.
However, if “no added sugar” is the standard we’re after, both brands hit the mark.
When it comes to vitamins for toddlers, the texture is a huge factor, and not just because of picky kids. Vitamins usually come in one of three forms: chewable tablets, liquid, or gummies.
I’m actually pretty hesitant with gummies, especially because my niece once had a scary choking incident with gummy bears. Did you know gelatinous or gummy foods are one of the seven most common choking hazards among kids? In fact, in 2001 the FDA banned the import of jelly fruit candies after many choking or nearly-choking incidents occurred with kids.
So where do our two brands fall?
Hiya vitamins are hard, chewable tablets, similar to chalky Sweetarts or Tums, whereas Llama Naturals vitamins are softer and gummy-like. They’re definitely not as gummy as other multivitamins I’ve tried, so I can see how they’d pose less of a choking hazard.
But honestly? The gummy texture of the Llama Naturals vitamin is kind of gritty… it’s one of the least appealing textures out of any toddler vitamin brand we’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot). My son liked it the first time he had it, but the second time, he started crying and made my husband scrape the gummy bits off his teeth. Can’t make this stuff up.
Either way, I’ve always favored chewable tablets like Hiya because they break down very easily. Hiya quickly disintegrates into powder, which means zero chance of a choking incident.
As far as texture goes, Hiya gets my vote.
Packaging And Sustainability
I’m a fan of Hiya’s packaging; when you sign up, they send a reusable glass container with no plastic in sight. Your next deliveries will be refill packets, which you use to top up the glass container. I love how this promotes sustainability and creates less waste.
My one drawback? I’m handling this bottle around my kids, so one wrong move and, well… dealing with toddlers is stressful enough. I don’t need to add shattered glass into the mix. (Thankfully, this has never happened.)
Llama Naturals comes in a recyclable plastic container with recycling symbol #1, so there are no worries if I drop it near my kids. The thing is, every order brings a new plastic container. That means no refill packets, and more plastic to toss.
But, there’s a plus: Llama is “Certified Plastic Negative,” which basically means they’ve committed to removing twice as much plastic from the environment as they produce. I really love this concept!
It feels good supporting a company that cares about the environment, and it looks like both brands take their commitment to sustainability seriously.
Because vitamins are a constant purchase, I have to seriously consider the price. I know I’m not alone in this.
Hiya gives you 50% off your first order, so the first month is only $15. But for any following orders, Hiya charges $30 for a 30-day supply for one child. The interesting thing about Hiya is, the price drops down a sliding scale when you add more kids to the subscription.
|2||$28 per child|
|3||$25 per child|
|4||$24 per child|
|5||$23 per child|
Llama Naturals is $24.95 for a month’s supply (their prices don’t change depending on how many children you have). If you subscribe, you’ll save 10% on the first order and up to 15% on repeat deliveries. Keep in mind that a month’s supply of Llama Naturals is 60 gummies, as they recommend 2 gummies per day if your child is 4 or older.
So as far as price goes, Llama Naturals will be slightly cheaper for you than Hiya.
If you have five kids, the price would be about the same for both brands. But I’m guessing not everyone is buying vitamins for five kids, so I’ve got to give this one to Llama Naturals.
That said, if you want to try it out for a month and see how it goes, Hiya will be significantly cheaper.
Another significant factor to keep in mind when choosing the best vitamin for your kids is the recommended age. Some vitamins are only advertised as suitable for ages 4+. Because picky eating often sets in around age 2, those 4+ brands are missing out on a huge demographic of parents who might’ve otherwise bought their vitamins.
Thankfully, both Hiya and Llama Naturals are suitable for ages 2+. As I mentioned above, Llama Naturals recommends 2 gummies per day for children ages 4 and up. For 2 and 3-year-olds, it’s just one.
OK, so here’s where things get more subjective. Obviously, you won’t know which vitamins your kids will like best until they try them, but I’ll tell you about our experience.
My kids love Hiya vitamins. I mean, they taste like SweeTARTS, so what’s not to like? But, I recently got some Llama Naturals to try, so I gave them to my kids instead of their usual Hiya dose.
My 3-year-old has never been a picky eater, and the first time he tried the Llama Naturals gummy, he said it tasted good. However, the second time, he started crying about gummy bits being stuck in his teeth. My husband had to scrape it off of his teeth to get him to calm down. We’ve never had that happen with any other gummy vitamin brand we’ve tried (such as First Day).
My 4-year-old, on the other hand, is a little more selective when deciding what she likes and doesn’t like. It’s fair to say Llama Naturals wasn’t her favorite. My husband and I tried them, too, and we thought they tasted bland and slightly sour.
So, my verdict? If your child is a picky eater, go for Hiya.
Included Vitamins and Ingredients
Here is a look at what’s inside the Llama Naturals and Hiya vitamins:
|Llama Naturals (per gummy)||Hiya|
|Vitamin A||✓||✓ (as 65% beta carotene and 35% retinyl palmitate)|
|Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)||✓||✓|
|Vitamin D3||✓ (also as D2)||✓ (as vegan cholecalciferol)|
|Vitamin E||✓ (as d-alpha-tocopherol from sunflower oil)||✓ (as d-alpha-tocopherol)|
|Vitamin K||✓ (K-1 as phylloquinone)|
|Vitamin B1||✓ (as thiamine mononitrate USP)||✓ (thiamin)|
|Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin)||✓||✓|
|Vitamin B6||✓ (as methylcobalamin)|
|Folate||✓ (natural, not synthetic)||✓ (as calcium L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate)|
|Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)||✓||✓|
|Pantothenic acid (as D-calcium pantothenate)||✓||✓|
|Calcium (as calcium carbonate)||✓|
|Iodine (as potassium iodide)||✓|
|Zinc (as zinc citrate)||✓|
|Selenium (as selenomethionine)||✓|
|Manganese (as manganese citrate)||✓|
I love both Hiya and Llama Naturals ingredient lists, as they’re both full of plant-based vitamins and minerals.
There are a couple of differences to point out:
- Hiya includes Selenium, which supports sleep, mood, and helps with inflammation. Kids’ bodies can’t make it on their own yet, yet most vitamin brands leave it out, including Llama Naturals.
- Hiya includes Manganese, which supports metabolism and helps with inflammation. Many vitamin brands overlook this, and Llama Naturals is one of them.
- Hiya includes Calcium, which supports bones and development. Kids don’t naturally produce calcium; most kids don’t get the calcium they need from food alone. When that happens, their bodies start “borrowing” calcium for their bones. Llama Naturals does not have calcium included.
- Hiya includes Zinc, which plays a huge part in keeping your immune system healthy. Although the body only needs a little bit, it still needs it! Llama Naturals does not include zinc.
I like that Llama Naturals uses apple pectin to make their gummies, which is good news for vegans—no gelatin from cows or pigs. But because of the ingredients Hiya includes like calcium, selenium, manganese, and zinc, I think Hiya wins this one.
Hiya and Llama Naturals both manufacture their vitamins in a cGMP-compliant facility, following the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices. This puts a mama bear like me at ease; I can trust the manufacturing process is properly designed, controlled, and monitored.
Each brand also does third-party lab testing of its vitamins to make sure they are safe and of the highest quality. Through this process, they test for trace amounts of heavy metals, allergens, and pathogens. Llama Naturals even checks for things like yeast, mold, and other microbials.
Vitamin brands don’t have to do this, which is why I’ll give this category to both Hiya and Llama Naturals. It’s clear they both want to deliver the safest product possible to our kids.
And the Winner Is…
Because Hiya either won or tied with Llama Naturals in most categories, I’d say Hiya is a clear winner. I get why parents choose it and why pediatricians recommend it. I love the peace of mind that comes with Hiya: my kids like them, and they include more vitamins and minerals than other brands.
But Llama Naturals has Hiya beat in one important category, and that’s price. In an economy where prices just keep rising, it might make sense for your family to go with the slightly cheaper option.
We have tried both, and I’d recommend either brand to a friend in a pinch, though Hiya would be my first choice.
The crucial thing is that your kids are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to grow into healthy adults. If that’s your goal (and I’m guessing it is since you’re reading kids’ vitamin comparisons!) either brand would be a good choice.