Nutrition for Toddlers

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Babies grow at a lightening pace – 3 inches or so every month. A toddler, in contrast, grows at a much slower rate- only 3.5 inches in a year. While the growth rate is slowed down considerably, nutrition for toddlers is still a top priority. It is also a time for parents to shift gears and to free the toddler to move liberally into a new atmosphere where he can eat and drink more freely. Toddler years are a time of transition specially between 12 to 24 months, when they are learning to eat table food and excepting new tastes and textures. Your child was provided enough nutrition by breastfeeding or the formula food as an infant, but now it’s time for him to get what he needs through a variety of food.

How Much Food Do They Need?
Depending on their age, size, and activity level, toddlers need about 1,000-1,400 calories a day. Refer to Nutrition for Toddlersthe toddler feeding guide charts on toddler feeding sites on the internet to get an idea of how much your child should be eating and what kinds of foods would satisfy the requirements.
Use the chart as a guide, but trust your own judgment and a toddler’s cues to tell if he or she is satisfied and getting adequate nutrition. Nutrition is all about averages so don’t be afraid if you don’t shoot every mark every day — just strive to provide a wide variety of nutrients in your child’s diet.
Milk Matters
It is an important part of a toddler’s diet Milk provides calcium and vitamin D for stronger bones. Toddlers should have 500 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU (International units) vitamin D.
The calcium requirement is easily met if your child gets the recommended two servings of dairy foods every day, but this amount provides only half of the vitamin D requirement.
In general, kids of ages 12 to 24 months should drink the entire milk to help provide the dietary fats that are neede for a normal growth and brain development. Reduced fat (2%) milk may be given if overweight or obesity is a concern.
Some kids initially reject cow’s milk because of it’s taste which is not like the familiar breast milk or formula. If your child is at least 12 months and having this difficulty, mix whole milk with a formula or breast milk.
Some kids don’t like milk or are unable to drink or eat dairy products. Explore other calcium sources, such as calcium-fortified orange juice , fortified cereals and calcium-fortified soya beverages.