Successfully meeting toddler or baby’s nutritional requirement is a serious concern for many parents; especially when there is plenty of differing information. In his/her early years, your baby grows and develops at an incredible speed; so it is highly important that your kid gets right combination of nutrients for proper growth and development. The food your toddler eats in his or her early years helps in forming dietary habits later in life. So try to incorporate healthy eating habits from the beginning. Encourage your toddler to eat a balanced diet, aiming for three meals and two snacks a day, each meal containing something from each foods group even if your kid is a fussy eater.
Balance Diet For Your Toddler
A toddler’s balanced diet must include proteins, dairy foods, carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. Toddlers need a variety of foods from each group. This will ensure that he or she gets everything that is required for his/ her growth and development. This will also help your toddler to explore new flavors and develop a healthy eating habit from the very beginning. However, serving your toddler a balanced diet everyday can be quite challenging. Most toddlers, after completion of 2 years, continue to develop new eating skills and food habits. The food they like one day often dislike on the other day; but don’t worry. As long as your baby eats well most days, he will be getting all the nutrients necessary for his growth and development.
Protein is essential for kids for their growth, tissue repair, healthy bones and development of brain. Chicken, eggs, seafood, meats, yogurt, cheese etc. are good sources of protein. Legumes, lentils, soy products, beans and nuts are plant source of protein. Boost your toddler’s protein intake with pleasing dishes of eggs, fish and meat. Top the cereals with nuts, yogurt and vegetables for added protein and fiber.
Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants protect the body against harmful substances that damage body’s cells. Boost up your child’s diet with vegetables like spinach, carrots, tomatoes , bell peppers and citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, apple and berries etc. Try to serve multicolored plates of fruit or vegetables like berries, kiwi, banana etc. so that they can easily get tempted.
It is necessary to serve your toddler carbohydrates in each meal, especially if your kid is older than 13 months. Older toddlers beyond 13 months can easily digest wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, cereals and muesli etc. Bread, rice, pasta, potato and other starches provides energy and should be part of each meal.
Dairy And Calcium
Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium, which is essential for toddlers for healthy and strong bones and teeth. Ideally your toddler should have dairy product 3 times a day. Dairy products will also provide proteins, vitamin and minerals. If your toddler is below two years, serve him full fat milk.
Your toddler needs some fat for growth and development and concentrated source of energy. But too much unsaturated fat is not good even for toddlers. Over consumption of snacks foods like chips, pastries, biscuits, soft drinks etc. added with poor quality fats, sugar and salt have no nutritional value and often contribute to obesity. Eating these foods once in a while is okay. Use butter, good plant based cooking oil and spreads to enhance the taste and texture of their food.
Toddler years are a period of transition. They are learning to accept new tastes. They need adequate nutrition for constant growth. A balanced diet with varied nutrition will help them to grow fast and stay healthy.