As children grow they require different nutritional portions. It is important to give them the right portion because if you give more they may be over weight and if you give less they may be under weight despite giving them a balanced diet. At this age children are developing socially, verbally, physically and emotionally and hence they need a healthy balanced diet that is going to support all this growth. They are now being more mobile and socially independent and they need a wide range of nutrients and energy to support their growth.
They should be given foods that have vitamin D that will support their bones and teeth development, these foods include eggs, oily fish e.g. salmon and others but there are few foods that contain vitamin D. they should also get zinc which is good for cell development and growth, these foods are bread, milk, meat and other foods. At this stage they now play a lot thus they get injuries more so it is important to give them foods that have zinc, zinc will be for their healing as it helps in the development of white blood cells that help repair scratches and skin infections. The foods to help in providing zinc are peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes e.t.c. They should also get vitamin A that will help in their vision and also maintain a healthy skin, the foods to support are yoghurt,cheese, eggs and fortified low-fat spreads.
The daily food intake for toddlers should include energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, sugars, dietary fibre, and saturated fatty acids. They should eat foods from four main food groups that are fruits and vegetables, starchy foods, dairy foods and proteins and above this should at least take 1.3 litre fluids. Starchy foods are good in providing energy and also good in vitamin B and fibre and we can get them from pasta, cereals and bread. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres and examples are apples, peas, broccoli and grapes. Dairy foods are strong in calcium but also have proteins, iodine, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Foods that contain these are milk, cheese, eggs and yoghurt. Proteins help in building and repairing tissues and we can get proteins from meat, fish and eggs. They can add fluids like water and milk.
Toddlers now need three meals a day and some snack time that are nutritional. Even though they will be eating foods with vitamin D, they still need to take the vitamin D supplement. They need strong bones thus should take foods with calcium that is full-fat milk and dairy products, they can drink approximately 2/3 of a pint of milk. When taking fruits and vegetables it is wise that you make it different kinds and colours a day and this will make the food more appetising. Toddlers need approximately 1,000 kcal of energy a day to keep them strong and going.
However with all these food types there are certain foods that they should not take. These foods include foods that are high in fibre and bran cereals because they make them full quickly thus not getting enough nutrient, ready meals/take away meals are not good as they contain too much fat and salt. They should not be given foods that are meant for adults diets like energy drinks. Crisps foods are not good because they have insufficient nutrients. Parents usually buy ready to drink juices for their children when going out but they are not good because they contain too much acid and can cause dental decay. Artificially sweetened foods and low-sugary foods should also be avoided.
It is wise to pay attention to what we give our toddlers to eat or drink as this will play a role in their daily lives.