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5 Essential elements for a toddler’s meal plan

5 Essential elements for a toddler’s meal plan

Your child is in the age group of 2 to 5 years old; he/she is now a toddler. This means your baby’s nutritional intake needs to change accordingly. While you have been paying attention to your little one’s nutrition, a toddler’s meal plan needs more consideration.

What should you feed your toddler?

  • Your baby’s meal plan needs elements from all healthy food groups
  • Proteins, calcium, iron, fibre, etc.
  • Avoid foods that are high in salt, saturated fat and excesses sugar

While this will give you an overview of Dos and Don’ts, we have five essentials that your toddler’s food must contain.

Here’s what your toddler meal plan should have.

  1. Protein

Proteins are the building block of life. Adding it to your toddler’s meal plan will help build cells, carry oxygen, break down food into energy and fight infections. Animal or plant-based protein are both valuable for growing kids, especially toddlers.

Protein-based foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Cheese
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Soya mince

These contain essential amino acids to aid healthy growth.

  1. Carbohydrates

Nowadays, it is a trend to cut carbs. Actually, carbohydrates are an important source of energy for your body. They will help your toddler’s body use fat and protein to build and repair tissue.

Carbohydrates come in different forms such as sugar, starch and fibre, but your baby’s meal plan should contain more starch and fibre and less sugar.

Carbohydrate-based foods include:

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  1. Fats

Just like carbs, fats are also condemned by many. However, they are a great source of energy and essential for toddlers. They are easily stored in the body and is used as a fuel source. That said, your baby’s activities should be monitored to avoid excessive intake of fatty food.

Fat-based foods include:

  • Dairy products
  • Cooking oils
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  1. Vitamins

Vitamins such as A and C are essential for the overall growth and development of a child. Hence, a toddler’s meal plan must have them. Vitamin A promotes the growth and functioning of eyes, keeps the skin healthy, and boosts immunity.

Vitamin C helps to fight the common cold, holds the body cells together, and strengthen the walls of blood vessels. This vitamin also heals body wounds and are crucial for maintaining the health of bones and teeth.

Foods rich in Vitamin A are:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Apricots

Foods rich in Vitamin C are:

  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Melons
  1. Iron

Iron deficiency is a common problem in toddlers, and hence, meal plan for kids should have iron. Iron is essential because it helps move oxygen in the body and assists muscles to store and use oxygen. A healthy flow and balance of oxygen in the body are vital for growth.

Iron-based foods include:

  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Iron-fortified cereals

When your child becomes a toddler, proper nutrition is a priority. They are at a stage where their diet will determine their quality of growth. Hence, a toddler’s meal plan should include the basics mentioned above.

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