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:
• 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Click on the next page to find out what these 9 nutrients are.