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Nutrients beneficial for your toddler

Nutrients beneficial for your toddler!

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A child begins to enjoy and take interest in her food by the time she turns one. She develops her own food preferences. It is vital to lay the foundation of good, healthy and well balanced eating habits as these first few years are critical for her growth and development. Though most children may become fussy eaters by 2 years of age, managing their diet to achieve a balanced intake and meeting the RDA’s over the week is the best way ahead.

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

The right nutrients for your child.

The nutrient requirements of children focus on the growth and development and also to support the period of her illnesses or infections. The beneficial and important nutrients for your toddler are:

Carbohydrates for energy: As your toddler is growing up, her nutritional needs are also increasing. She now needs more energy as she gets more active now. During childhood, the need for energy is thus greater. Also, the basal metabolic rate of children is higher. Carbohydrates should provide the energy in the diet. Carbohydrates also have a protein sparing function which makes the proteins available for growth and development of your child. Good sources include cereals and their products like wheat, rice, semolina, rice flakes etc, roots and tubers like potato, yam, colocasia etc, in your baby’s diet.

Protein builds muscles: Protein contains amino acids that form the building blocks of the cells and tissues of the body and also form the immune system and other cells in your child’s body. Therefore, proteins are required for the growth and development of your toddler. Good sources of protein include milk and milk products, chicken, fish, eggs, lentil and beans. Eggs are nutritious, easy to prepare and a good quality protein source, you can introduce eggs to the diet of your baby at 9 months if she is not allergic to it.

Fats provide energy: Fats serve as a major energy source in our diet. 1 gm of fat provides us with 9 Kcal of energy. Fatty acids are important for structure, composition and permeability of our cell membranes. Essential fatty acids like DHA are the ‘good’ fats that help boost the immune system and fight off infections. Along with this fats help to absorb various fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K in your child’s body. They help in providing energy density to your toddler’s meals.

Vitamins gives them various benefits: Vitamin D is needed for absorption of calcium and it’s deposition in the bones. Vitamin A is required for healthy eyes and for the functioning of the immune system. It helps in the formation of antibodies, thus increasing immunity at the cell level. Its deficiency is frequently associated with increased susceptibility to infection, particularly respiratory infections and diarrhoea. Vitamin C and E help in boosting the immune system and vitamin B group helps in various functions in the body.

Minerals are needed too: All minerals are necessary for the overall growth of your child. Iron is essential for a toddler’s immune activity, as well as the production of haemoglobin to supply oxygen to the cells. Toddlers should receive about 9 mg of iron daily. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anaemia are listlessness, paleness and irritability. Iron-rich foods suitable for toddlers include iron fortified meals, refined lentils, beans and leafy green vegetables like spinach etc. Your child may be able to absorb more iron if he eats foods containing vitamin C (found in fruits and vegetables) at the same time.

Calcium is necessary for strong bones, as your toddler is in the growth phase it is crticial that you include calcium in your child’s diet. Yoghurt, paneer etc are great sources of calcium for your Childs growing bones. Zinc aids the creation of new cells and the enzymes needed to support your toddler’s immune system, it also helps our bodies to heal wounds. Lack of zinc in diet can weaken immunity, thus increasing the chances of common childhood illnesses like diarrhoea and pneumonia. Foods rich in zinc are meat, whole meal bread, baked beans, cheddar cheese, fruit yoghurt and pumpkin seeds.

Don’t Let Your Child Miss Out on Good Nutrition

Right nutrition at right proportion helps in the healthy growth of your child. A balanced diet is the key which also includes RDAs. That’s how your child develops a healthy body and mind.

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