Just two months ago, Diego turned one and his eating habits have changed drastically. I want to make sure I’m providing him with the best nutrition possible, and the first step is knowing what nutrients his body needs. Along with consulting our pediatrician, I did some research about the most important vitamins and nutrients that toddlers need. At this stage, Diego is constantly moving and while his stomach is just a 1/3 the size of an adult’s, he still needs a lot of energy–meaning each bite counts.
Keep reading to learn about the nutrients toddlers need and how to incorporate this into healthy recipes:
Start With The Necessary Nutrients
- Iron is crucial for brain development when a body is growing at such a fast rate. Iron creates the pigment that stores oxygen in the muscles. Foods that are high in iron include meat, eggs, oily fish like salmon, beans and leafy greens.
- Vitamin C helps form and repair red blood cells, bones and tissues. This means quicker recovery for those bruises and scratches that toddlers can get. As most of us know, it also boosts the immune system which is important for when toddlers start walking and crawling around. It’s best to pair a vitamin C rich food with iron rich food for quicker absorption into the blood. For example, an orange slice with some scrambled eggs in the morning is great for breakfast. The best sources of vitamin C rich foods include guava, red bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli.
- Fats should also not be overlooked when feeding a toddler. Fat speeds up the production of myelin, an essential layer of some nerve cells, and should be about 50% of a one year old’s diet.
- Fiber helps regulate your the bowel system and prevent heart cancer later on in life. As different foods and textures are introduced, it’s important to promote healthy digestion. Fiber packed foods to introduce could include whole grain pasta or oatmeal. Raspberries also have a high amount of fiber for the fewest calories, and are often a big hit with even picky kids.
If you’re wondering how to incorporate all of these nutrients into your toddler’s daily diet, here are some ideas!
A Day In The Life Of A Healthy Toddler
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs mixed with smashed avocado with a side of diced orange slices and glass of homemade almond milk (Diego’s Favorite)
Morning Snack: Watermelon or grapes cut in half
Lunch: Grilled chicken thighs and squash cubes with a side of brown rice
Afternoon Snack: Greek yogurt, chia seed pudding, or overnight oats
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta mixed in with broccoli and a scoop of red pasta sauce
It’s a priority of mine to cook fresh and healthy meals and snacks for Diego every day, but since cooking is not AT ALL my expertise, I asked my friend Majo from Mini Fresh to teach me a couple of easy, healthy recipes for foods that I could serve as breakfast, lunch or as a snack.
Watch the video below to check out the first recipe we made! Diego was having the time of his life when we filmed this video (haha).
Tips and Resources
Most recommend keeping a child Diego’s age on a 1,000 calorie nutrient-dense diet and continue to change up the options, especially textures of foods. As Diego gains his independence, it’s important that I let him tell me when he’s full and when he wants to eat. One of my favorite places for healthy kid friendly recipes is The Honest Company’s blog and for nutrition information, I visit The American Academy of Pediatrics healthy kids website. Every week is different but just like any mom, I’m learning along the way.
What are your favorite meals for your toddlers? Do you have any tips for keeping your toddler happy and healthy? I would love to hear in the comments below!