When kids are young and still growing every day, it is important that they get the right nutrients each day to fuel that growth. An improper diet can not only create unfavorable eating habits that they will retain into their adulthood, they could stunt their growth as well due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
For your toddler, who is burning energy constantly by being as active as young children are, those nutrients are essential to their development and to them being able to maintain that active lifestyle at their age.
Here are a few key pieces of advice to keep your toddler growing healthy and happily.
Iron Is Key
Iron deficiency for kids can lead to growth problems as well as learning and behavioral issues as well. Not only that, iron-deficiency can lead to anemia, which is when the body has too few red blood cells. Those red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, essential to your organs and tissues.
Focus on iron-rich foods like enriched grains, fish, poultry and add foods that contain vitamin C – tomatoes, oranges, strawberries – to improve their ability to absorb the iron in those foods. Also, try limiting your child’s milk intake each day as cow’s milk is low in iron.
Milk Is Still Important
Though limiting the amount of milk that your toddler drinks is important to iron intake, it is also important that you do not cut milk from their diet. Milk provides vitamin D as well as calcium to build stronger bones. And for kids age 12 to 24 months, they need whole milk for the dietary fats needed for normal brain development and growth.
Making milk a balanced part of your child’s diet is important to their development, though you should monitor just how much you are giving your child to prevent iron deficiency.
Balance, Balance, Balance
Overloading your child with one food can be easy, especially if it seems like that is the only food that they will eat. But keeping their diet balanced is important for their development and they need a good mixture of grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans.
Keeping your child’s diet balanced provides them with all of the necessary nutrients that they need to grow and develop properly. Plus, it gives diversity in the meals that you can feed them, allowing you to mix it up and keep things fresh.