Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Here are all of the essential nutrients needed by your little one's body and brain for optimal development.

As they begin to make sense of the world around them and start their early explorations, our toddlers’ brains and bodies grow and develop at an incredible rate — laying the foundation for their future health, success and happiness.

At this crucial stage of their development, there is one important thing that we can do as parents and that is to make sure that our toddler is eating a balanced diet and getting all the right amount of calories and nutrients.

A balanced diet is one that contains lots of different food which together provide your toddler with all the nutrients that he needs for healthy and optimum growth and development.

The main food groups are:

  • Fruits
  • Dairy – milk, yoghurt, cheese
  • Grains/Cereals (Carbohydrates)
  • Lean meats, fish, eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds (Protein)
  • Vegetables, legumes and beans

It is important to ensure that your child is consuming each of these food groups in the right proportions, as together they give him all the essential nutrients needed by his body and brain.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the correct portion sizes for a 1-3 year old are:

  • Starchy food – 5 portions a day. One portion size usually equals: 2-4tbsps of cooked rice, 2-4tbsps of cooked pasta, ½-1 slice of bread, 2-5tbsps of breakfast cereal, among others.
  • Protein food – 2 portions a day. One portion size usually equals: 2-3tbsps of baked beans, ½-1 fried egg, 2-3tbsps of chickpeas, ½-1 slice of beef, ¼-1 small fillet of salmon, among others.
  • Fruits and vegetables – 5 portions a day. One portion size usually equals: ¼-1 medium banana, ½-2tbsps cooked greens, ½-2tbsps cooked broccoli, 2-6 carrot sticks, 3-8 strawberries, among others.
  • Dairy food – 3 portions a day. One portion size usually equals 1-3tbsps cheese sauce, 1 125ml pot of yogurt, 100 ml breastmilk, cow’s milk, formula milk, among others.

Together these food provide the necessary nutrients that are essential for maintenance of life and growth, allowing our bodies to function properly.

Nutrient deficiencies can cause developmental delays in children, therefore making sure that your child receives good nutrition which provides him the best chance to grow and develop properly.

There are 9 essential nutrients that are essential to the growth and development of your toddler.

9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

1. DHA

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Image source: iStock

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an omega-3 fatty acid that is critical for your baby’s eye and brain development.*

Recommended daily intake: FAO/WHO recommends daily dietary DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for children 12-24 months, 100-150mg DHA+EPA for children 2-4 years of age or 150-200mg DHA + EPA for children 4-6 years of age.

Best sources: Fish, fish oil, algal oils and flaxseeds.

*For children up to 3 years of age. Aptamil Growing Up Milk — (now available in Singapore) contains the following levels of DHA — Aptamil Toddler Gold+ Stage 3 900g contains 125mg DHA per 100g; Aptamil Junior Gold+ Stage 4 contains 132mg DHA per 100g — to help your little one meet recommendations for daily DHA intake.

To get your free 900g tin, simply click here.

2. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are a source of food for the good bacteria in the gut. They are actually non-digestible dietary fibres that we get from eating fruit, legumes, and whole grains. Prebiotics may also be added to weaning foods for babies such as cereals and milk.

However, not all prebiotics are the same, so you need to choose with care. The benefits of prebiotics are scientifically supported by research findings published in the Journal of Nutrition (2008) to promote a healthy gut bacteria profile, which supports the body’s natural defences.

Source of prebiotics: Raw chicory root, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw garlic, asparagus, spinach, bananas, berries, leeks, onions, whole wheat, legumes and supplements.

Aptamil Growing Up Milk — (now available in Singapore) has been specially formulated with Patented Prebiotic Blend, zinc, and iron to help support your child’s natural defences.

To get your free 900g tin, simply click here.

3. Zinc

nutrients for toddler's growth

Image source: iStock

Zinc is needed by enzymes in our body to help aid digestion, metabolism and is essential for growth.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 3 milligrams

Best sources: Beef, nuts, beans, milk, cheese

4. Iron

nutrients for toddler's growth

Image source: iStock

Iron helps to build healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells throughout the body while also playing a role in brain development.

It is important for parents to know that a baby’s natural iron reserves deplete by the time they are six months old, making it necessary to include iron-rich food into their diet.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 7.0 milligrams

Best sources: Chicken, beans, lentils, whole grains and iron-fortified cereals

5. Calcium

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Image source: iStock

Calcium is essential to help build a child’s healthy bones, teeth and contribute to normal energy metabolism.
Calcium is also important for muscle and nerve function, besides helping in blood clotting.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 700 milligrams

Best sources: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese, and calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and beverages

6. Vitamin D

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Image source: File photo

Vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals like calcium and improves bone strength. It also contributes to the normal function of the immune system as well as maintenance of muscle function and normal teeth.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 15 micro grams (mcg)

Best sources: Fish, dairy products, egg yolks, exposure to sunlight

7. Vitamin A

nutrients for toddler's growth

Image source: iStock

Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the eye and contributes to the normal function of the immune system.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 300mcg

Best sources: Colourful fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamin A, these include: carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas, bell peppers, mango, papaya and peaches.

8. Vitamin C

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Image source: iStock

Vitamin C is known to contribute to the normal function of the immune and nervous system. It supports normal collagen formation for the normal function of blood vessels, bones and skin. In addition, Vitamin C also enhances absorption of iron from non meat products.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 15mg

Best sources: Citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, kiwi

9. Magnesium

nutrients for toddler's growth

Image source: iStock

Magnesium contributes to energy metabolism and the maintenance of bone and teeth.

Recommended daily intake for a 1-3 year-old: 80 milligrams

Best sources: Legumes, nuts, leafy green vegetables

The Aptamil Advantage

Top 9 Nutrients Essential For Your Toddler’s Growth

Image source: supplied

To create a toddler-friendly diet that balances all the food groups and ensure that they get their recommended daily intake of all essential nutrients can be a challenge for any parent.

One way of helping our little one get all the necessary nutrients in the right quantity is adding Aptamil’s Growing Up Milk as part of a healthy and varied diet. It has been evaluated by science and contains essential nutrients to help build the foundations for your toddler’s future progress.

Brought to you by Europe No. 1 Baby Milk Company^ and specially imported from New Zealand, Aptamil Toddler and Junior Gold+ contain Pronutra+, a uniquely designed system of nutrients, to help lay the foundations for your child’s future progress. Pronutra+ contains the following DHA levels: Aptamil Toddler Gold+ Stage 3 900g – 125mg DHA per 100g; Aptamil Junior Gold+ Stage 4 – 132mg DHA per 100g to help your little one meet recommendations for daily DHA intake.*

Patented Prebiotic Blend, Zinc, and Iron are also specifically included into Pronutra+, to help support your child’s natural defences.

Register now for AptaAdvantage to receive an exclusive Discovery Pack with a FREE 900g Aptamil Toddler/Junior Gold+ Growing Up Formula sample# to kickstart your AptaAdvantage journey. For the 1st 1000 Registrations only, while stocks last!

What’s more? Take advantage of your AptaAdvantage Card to enjoy exclusive member prices (Aptamil Toddler Gold+ Stage 3 900g from $43.15 to $34.50; Aptamil Junior Gold+ Stage 4 900g from $37.50 to $30.00) on every tin of Aptamil you buy at FairPrice outlets.

Start now. Feed your little one’s future with AptaAdvantage.

^ Danone Nutricia ELN is the first Ranked Milk Formula manufacturer both in Sales Value and Sales Volume for these 9 countries(UK, DE, NL, IRL, PL, BEL, CZE/SLO and ROM) during the MAT period Dec 2015.

*FAO/WHO recommends daily dietary DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for children 12-24 months, 100-150mg DHA+EPA for children 2-4 years of age or 150-200mg DHA+EPA for children 4-6 years of age. Reference: FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91. FAO: Rome.

# Terms & conditions apply. Valid for children between 10 months to 6 years. Each child is entitled to one Discovery Pack only (either Aptamil Gold+ Toddler Stage 3 or Junior Stage 4)

References:

1. Knol J et al. Colon microflora in infants fed formula with galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides: more like breast-fed infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2005;40:36-42.

2. Moro G et al. Dosage-related bifidogenic effects of galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides in formula-fed term infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2002;34(3):291-5.

3. Costalos C et al. The effect of a prebiotic supplemented formula on growth and stool microbiology of term infants. Early Hum Dev 2008;84:45-49.

ALSO READ:

Started Weaning? Annabel Karmel On The Critical Nutrients Every Baby Needs

12 Iron-Rich Foods To Boost Your Toddler’s Brain Development And Overall Health

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Written by

Sumati Nagrath

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