Laying Foundation for a Healthier Future for Kids
|   Jan 02, 2017
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Laying Foundation for a Healthier Future for Kids

The child grows rapidly and becomes more active during the initial years of his life. To meet the extra demands of growth, toddlers have higher energy and nutrient requirements for their body. It is therefore important that they are offered foods and drinks that provide adequate energy and nutrients for their needs. Breast milk and formula were perfect for your child as an infant, but during toddler years it's time to start giving them what they need through a variety of other foods. The diet of a toddler should include plenty of carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables proteins and dairy foods. Children may start to take more control over their food choices around this time. So as a parent it is vital that you encourage them to eat a healthy, varied diet to help ensure they obtain all the necessary nutrients they need for proper growth and good health.

Depending on the age, size, and level of activity, toddlers need about 1000–1400 Kcal per day. The given chart can be used to get an idea about your child's requirement and what kinds of foods would satisfy their requirements.

Table Source:

Almost every toddler gets enough protein, fat and carbohydrates. The nutrients most likely to be low in toddler’s diets are vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals play a vital role to boost the immunity of a toddler. That's why pediatricians may recommend a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement for your kids.

  • Kids who aren't eating regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods.
  • Fussy eaters who simply aren't eating enough.
  • Kids eating a lot of fast and processed foods.
  • Kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they're taking medications (talk to pediatrician before starting a supplement if your child is on any kind of medication)
  • Kids on a vegetarian or a vegan diet (they may need an iron supplement), a lactose free diet (they may need a calcium supplement), or other restricted diet.
  • Kids who drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leads to vitamins and minerals depletion from their bodies.

The dietary sources of vitamins and minerals include fresh fruits and vegetables. Include them in their diet in the form of juices, fruit shakes, fruit punches, fruit desserts, fruit ice creams etc.

When we talk about the reality of time crunched parents, those home cooked well-balanced meals might not provide all the vitamins and minerals a toddler requires. Most mothers believe that the home cooked food is enough for their kids, but in reality there are certain nutrients which are deficient in dietary sources and needs to be supplemented through health drinks or foods supplements. Few such nutrients are DHA, choline, calcium and iron. In order to meet the requirement of these nutrients mothers should include a health drink in their child's routine.

It is the duty of a parent to inculcate good eating habits since beginning. Feeding your child with a balanced diet will ensure their proper growth and development.

Few tips for parents: 

  • Encourage your toddler to eat a healthy, varied diet.
  • Offer different kind of foods.
  • Always encourage and praise them for finishing their meals.
  • Never reward or punish them with food.
  • Have regular and timely family meals.
  • Set an example for them by being a role model.
  • Involve kids in food prepping.
  • Consider your kids liking and disliking towards different foods.

Each child is different and needs specialized nutrition, so it is important to start early for an age appropriate nutrition. Inculcating healthy eating behavior during early childhood will train up the kids with healthy eating habits for future. Developing a positive connection with food, as well as a smart approach to eating, can improve your kids eating habits. Such healthy approach will reap better health outcomes in the long run.

Image Credit: Healthy Families BC

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