‘Low fat’ is the favorite word for health conscious people. Think your toddler too needs a low fat diet? Think again! There is no need to monitor your child’s fat intake before the age of 2 years as it is required for brain development.
Not All Fats are Bad!
Fat is a calorically dense nutrient and this makes it an important component of toddlers’ diets because of their small stomach capacity.
Adequate fat is essential for growth and development. It is also essential to help the brain and nervous system develop well. Not only that, fats:
- Aid in the absorption of some vitamins
- Are the building blocks of some hormones
- Are necessary for insulating the nervous system tissues in the body
- Make us feel full so we are less likely to eat more.
Fat deficiency may affect the development of your toddler’s nervous system, hamper growth and deprive your toddler of fat-soluble vitamins.
Which Fats should be Included?
Use combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and oils in your toddler’s diet.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts, avocado and vegetable oils such as ground nut, canola, olive, safflower, and sunflower. Polyunsaturated fats are found in soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed and fish such as trout, herring, and salmon.
Avocado or butter fruit is rich in good fats and nutrients; use it as a spread on your toddler’s toast or as a dip for carrot sticks.
Ghee which is commonly used in India can be included in your toddler’s diet but resist the urge of over feeding the same.
Which Fats should be Avoided?
Trans-fatty acids found in partially hydrogenated fats such as vanaspathi, margarine and foods such commercial snack, baked foods; saturated fats found in meat and animal products, butter should be avoided.
How much Fat should Your Toddler Get?
Do not restrict fat if your toddler is less than 2 years old. Your toddler needs 27g of fats every day which is higher than your requirement.
Ensure the right quantity and quality of fat in your toddler’s diet.