As your child moves into their toddler years, it remains important to provide them with all of the nutrition necessary to meet their needs. When it comes to toddlers and nutrition, the demands of a rapidly growing toddler are significant and knowing how to meet these with nutrient-dense foods is the job of any compassionate and caring parent.
It is important to get a head start and learn more about what a balanced diet looks like for toddlers before they reach the one-year milestone. Taking the time to learn more about the needs of your toddler and how this stage of life differs from infancy will allow you to make better food choices and create delicious meals that your toddler will both love and be able to consume.
Let’s look at some of the basics of toddler nutrition and what goes into making a balanced diet for children at this stage.
Try Toddler Milks
The toddler years are a time of many changes in the diet of your child. While infant formula and breastmilk are great for young children, toddlers need to start developing a taste for foods that suit a more grown-up diet. This includes cows’ milk in its pure form.
However, cows’ milk can be difficult for some toddlers to handle. As their digestive systems are still developing, they may have a hard time digesting the proteins in pure milk. This can be an issue even if your toddler is not lactose intolerant.
In these cases, it is worthwhile to check out toddler milk products. These serve as an intermediary step between infant formulas and pure cows’ milk. They make the transition a bit easier for your child to manage and make a great addition to a balanced diet.
Know What Your Child Needs
Toddlers need to reach a certain amount of calories each day in order to fuel their rapid growth. Depending on the size of your child, this will range between 1000 and 1400 calories per day. Your doctor will be able to provide you with the most accurate information, as they will be able to take more precise measurements of your child’s physiological requirements.
Mix Up Their Diet
Balanced diets contain enough variety to ensure that your child is receiving not only carbohydrates, proteins and fats, but also sufficient vitamins and minerals. Balanced diets need to include enough servings of vegetables, fruits, grains and meats, or meat alternatives, to meet these needs.
Thankfully, toddlers are able to start exploring the world of solid foods. Make sure to explore some creative recipes that your toddler will tolerate and enjoy. You may have to mash up or cut food into small pieces to ensure that it does not represent a choking hazard. However, toddlers often enjoy starting to exercise motor control over their arms and hands. Help them move food to their mouths so that they can get used to the movements that are required.
Beyond food, there are other things that you should consider feeding your toddler to ensure their optimal health. Most importantly, make sure that your toddler receives enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will keep them happy and healthy.
You may also consider toddler vitamins, usually available in a dropper format, to bolster their vitamin and mineral levels.
Continue To Explore Toddler Nutrition
Consulting with your doctor is a great way to learn more about the nuances of toddler nutrition. The internet is also filled with great recipe ideas and food combinations that are toddler-friendly. If you put in some effort to understand toddler nutrition, you can be more confident in the dietary choices that you make for them.