Must-have nutrients for your toddler

Toddlers have a reputation for being picky eaters and can sure drive you up the wall during mealtimes. They can also be extremely unpredictable. It’s perfectly normal to see them downright refusing to eat the food they loved eating just one week ago. They may also surprise you by taking to something that you thought they would dislike.

Toddler’s tastes keep changing and so does their interest in food around the time they turn one. This is simply because their growth slows, so, they don’t require that much food anymore. You may also notice that your little tyke’s eating habits being very erratic. She may eat lots during one meal, and eat practically nothing during the next. This sure can be frustrating, but if you can, try not to worry too much over this. If you haven’t realized, at this stage, your munchkin’s interests are on exploring her surroundings than eating food and she’ll eat when she’s hungry.

But that doesn’t mean you let her go hungry. Feed her small portions since her stomach can take in only that much. She needs at least 1,000 calories a day and you could stagger this across three main meals and two snacks a day. What you must focus on is packing in enough nutrients that will help in her growth and development.

Here are some of the must-have nutrients your toddler needs on a daily basis.

Calcium

Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth.  Kids between 1 to 3 years only need about 500 mg of calcium, which two glasses of milk can provide (one glass contains about 300 mg).

Calcium also aids in blood clotting and regulation of muscle contraction. Calcium rich foods include – milk, yogurt, egg yolk, cheese and dark green leafy veggies (broccoli, spinach)

Iron

Iron is vital for formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Toddlers need about 7 to 10 mg of iron a day. Foods that contain high levels of  iron include beans, dry fruits, fish, poultry, red meat and greens.

You must remember not to overfeed you toddler with milk. Calcium in the milk interferes with iron absorption which could result in anemia.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is essential for building strong bones and teeth. It also helps in the absorption of calcium, and production of insulin.

Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s the only nutrient manufactured in the body when we are exposed to sun. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids take in about 400 IUs of Vitamin D—which is conveniently absorbed by the skin via the sun’s rays.  However, it is also important not to overexpose the child to the sun as it make increase the risk of skin cancer. Some of top food sources of vitamin D include Milk,  cheese and all other diary products, egg yolk, cereals and soya milk

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps builds resistance and strengthens immunity. But it does more than fighting colds and infections. It strengthens the walls of blood vessels, helps heal wounds quickly, and vital for building strong bones and teeth. Toddlers need only 15mg of Vitamin C a day. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas, cabbage, papaya, spinach, broccoli, strawberries

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is crucial for vision, bone growth and immunity development. It also helps in repair of tissues and keeps nails, hair and skin healthy. Some of the best sources of vitamin A are: carrots, papaya, dark green vegetables, eggs, meat, milk and cheese.

For kids between ages 1-3, the required level of Vitamin A per day is 1,000 international units (IU).

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