An adult’s diet is different from a child’s. The right toddler nutrition is very important for a child’s growth. Parents must ensure that their toddlers do get the right balanced meals with proper nutrients.
In getting the most of toddler nutrition, a guide to a healthy and balanced meal should be adhered to. A basic knowledge on the food pyramid will give an edge to the parents. The pyramid informs us of the 5 main food groups and can be used as a guide to help us choose a daily balanced meal by selecting food items from each group. Proper toddler nutrition should include 3 meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner at appropriate times- with snacks in between. An active toddler will need more snacks compared to a less active one. So do stock up healthy snacks in the kitchen!
Taking cue from the food pyramid, parents should encourage their toddlers to eat healthy food. These include asking toddler to choose from a variety of food. Do not stick to just one type of food. For his carbohydrate intake, you can serve rice, noodles or bread which provide energy to the toddlers to stay active. For a toddler’s meal, this should be the largest serving.
For a complete nutrition, fruits and vegetables must be included in a toddler’s daily diet too. Fruits and vegetables supply vitamins and minerals. They too, contain fibre which is good for digestion and relieve constipation. Again, introduce to toddler a variety of fruits and vegetables. They can either be eaten raw or cooked. To introduce new fruits into a toddler’s menu, try making mix fruit drinks. As for vegetables, remember not to overcook them as it will destroy the vitamins. To encourage toddlers to eat their vegetables, parents can plant their own vegetables and have the toddlers involved. They would love to see their tomato or cucumber plants grow and later picking their fruits of labour.
Fish, poultry, meat and egg are excellent sources of protein. So are milk and dairy products (such as yoghurt and cheese). Protein is the body’s building blocks, hence, it is very important for toddler’s growth. These foods also contribute the necessary minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium which is essential for teeth and bone development.
To complete the toddler nutrition, parents must remember to include fats, salt and sugar food group in toddlers’ diets. However, they are required in a small amount only. There are many cases whereby young children are obese as a result of excessive intake of these in fried and processed foods. Therefore, parents should monitor toddler’s food intake closely.
Healthy and balanced meals are essential for a toddler’s growth. This will ensure that the child gets all the nutrients that he needs. Parents play a vital role in choosing and guiding the toddler to the right food.