If your little one spits the dummy every time you serve up a new food, you’ll love this fussy food game plan and guide to the 10 most important nutrients for toddlers …
Research shows that you may need to offer a new food to your children up to 10 times before they will try it. Yep, that’s a lot of aeroplane spoon action! Any parent knows how stressful mealtimes with toddlers can be on a good day, let alone on a bad day. What your child likes one day, they may steadfastly refuse the next. Sometimes they’ll refuse everything you offer, while other times they’ll eat everything on their plate (and even ask for more!). Knowing what vitamins and nutrients your toddler needs can help you to plan healthy meals for the whole family.
According to Blackmores Advisory naturopath, Charmaine Sofia, there are many ways to keep your toddler healthy and happy: all it takes is a little imagination, some healthy food, and an ability to turn a blind eye to the mess! With this in mind, Charmaine has kindly shared her top ten most important nutrients to provide your toddler with (and sneaky ways you can get them eating more of the good stuff!), as well as a fussy toddler game plan…
Here’s Charmaine’s best tips on natural health, food and nutrients to help you and your little wellbeing!
10 Most Important Nutrients For Toddlers
Get to know these essential nutrients, where you can find them and why they’re important for a toddler to grow into a healthy and happy big kid!
“Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, plus it gives your little one energy,” explains Charmaine.
Find it in: Dairy foods like milk, yoghurt, or cheese, leafy green vegetables, nuts and dried fruit.
Top tip: “A tub of natural yoghurt, with some sulphite-free dried fruit added makes a great snack.”
2. Vitamin B
“The B suite of vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6) contribute to the release of energy from food.”
Find it in: Eggs, bananas, salmon and lean pork.
Top tip: “A boiled egg or mashed banana with toast make delicious afternoon snacks.”
“For energy and healthy behavior!”
Find it in: Oatmeal, chicken, lean red meat, seafood.
Top tip: “Small strips of grilled chicken are easy to pick up with small fingers.”
“For strong bones, muscle activity, and a healthy immune system.”
Find it in: Leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocado and whole grains.
Top tip: “Make a guacamole dip (without the chilli) and dip some veggie sticks in.”
“For healthy muscle function.”
Find it in: Legumes, potatoes and bananas.
Top tip: “Whip up a banana smoothie for breakfast, or a mid-morning snack.”
“Mummy, I don’t know what it is you’re feeding me, but it makes me feel good!”
6. Vitamin A
“Necessary for vision and bone growth. It’s also important for healthy skin, hair and nails.”
Find it in: Carrots, sweet potato, apricots.
Top tip: “Give your toddler chopped carrots before you serve dinner. They’re ideal if your toddler is teething.”
7. Vitamin C
“Good for gums, and to support a healthy immune system. Plus it’ll help your toddler’s body absorb iron from those iron-rich foods.”
Find it in: Strawberries, mangoes, tomatoes, and red capsicum.
Top tip: “Puree strawberries and mangoes and freeze in an ice block mold for a summery treat.”
8. Vitamin D
“A must for helping your toddler grow healthy bones.”
Find it in: Salmon, tuna, egg yolks, yoghurt.
Top tip: “Make breakfast fun by drawing a face on your child’s boiled egg and give it a name!”
9. Vitamin E
“A powerful antioxidant which also supports healthy immune system function.”
Find it in: Sunflower seeds, spinach and sweet potato.
Top tip: “Lightly roast sunflower seeds for a delicious nutty snack.”
“A must for healthy growth, development and energy levels.”
Find it in: Chicken, beef, eggs, nuts and seafood.
Top tip: “Grill beef on a skewer for a fun eating experience.”
“I’m not eating THAT!” Where’s my curly carrots…?
The fussy toddler game plan
It can be, oh, just a tad frustrating cooking up new foods for your little one to try – only for them to spit it out when you dish it up! But according to Charmaine, as your baby turns into a toddler, they’ll naturally develop their own likes and dislikes.
“One of the ways they learn to express their new-found opinions is at mealtimes,” explains Charmaine. “It’s important not to worry too much; otherwise dinner time will become a battlefield, and end with at least one person in tears! If you’re worried about the nutrient intake of your toddler, you can help boost energy and intake of other nutrients in addition to a normal diet through a good quality food supplement, like the new Blackmores Toddler Milk drink, which contains prebiotics, lutein and essential vitamins and minerals, including iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin A, C and D plus calcium.”
“The best rule to remember when it comes to feeding toddlers, is, there are no rules. But, by making sure they get all the nutrients they need – through foods and formula – you’ll have more time and energy to spend playing with, and enjoying your growing, little wellbeing!”
For more information on natural health for kids, visit Blackmores Mum’s Like You hub – an online portal full of tips, advice and actions you can take to help grow your little wellbeing!