The right diet ensures a healthy and bright future for toddlers. Proper food and nutrients form the building blocks for developing strong teeth, bones, muscles and healthy tissues in this age group. A good diet also helps to build your toddlers immune system. A study by the Journal of American Dietic Association states that kids in an age group of 1 to 2 years get 30 percent more calories than required. Since life long eating preferences are set during the first three years a well balanced diet at these early stages is required. A critical factor is that, though requirements for energy and nutrients are high, parents are besieged with small appetites and finicky eating habits.
The basic constituents of toddlers’ healthy diet include iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and D. Iron is one of the most crucial nutrients for a toddler. Children in this age group often suffer from iron deficiencies due to low dietary intake. This happens due to low or no meat intake. Foods rich with Vitamin C, such as orange juice need to be eaten at the same time to enhance iron absorption. Calcium; which is vital for strong bones, teeth and blood clotting and nerve cells, can be obtained from milk. Vitamin A; which is crucial for healthy skin and cell development can be derived from yellow and orange fruit and vegetables. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium metabolism and is synthesized by the action of the sunlight on the skin. It is also available from oily fish, fortified margarine and dairy products. In order to balance out a healthy diet a parent should ensure that their toddler is getting adequate starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, meat fish and alternatives. Fatty and sugary foods need to be given in moderation. Avoid or moderate sweet drinks.
Some pointers to ensure a healthy child’s diet are:
- Feed your child with regular meals and snacks at regular intervals.
- Schedule meals at times when your child is not too tired or too hungry.
- Ensure that there is a wide variety of food at meals.
- Choose foods that are colorful and interesting.
- Serve small portions on a small plate in the beginning.
- Keep sweet foods and deserts out of sight till the main course has been eaten.
Disclaimer: The above information is commonsense reflection drawn from general experience. If you are looking for expert medical advice, please consult your doctor.