Throughout childhood, nutrition is essential, but the correct diet is vital to toddler growth and development. Its importance cannot be understated. The reason for this is because toddlers experience an incredible amount of growth and development, more than at any other time in their lives.
Toddlers use a massive quarter of their calorific intake for growth. By the time they reach the age of two years, your average toddler is 70% longer and 340% heavier than when they were born. It has been said that formula milk for toddlers can assist them with this unprecedented growth rate.
Let’s take a closer look at how nutrition plays such an essential role in the development of your toddler.
What Happens If A Toddler Does Not Receive The Correct Nutrition?
To grow up into strong and healthy children and adults, it is vital that before their birth and for their first few years, your toddler receives the right nutrition. This will affect not only their health but also their growth rate and brain development, also known as cognitive ability. Malnutrition can cause a delay in a child’s development or could stunt their growth. Without enough nutrition, the body will enter a state of survival, which means that it chooses to use food for just the most critical body functions and there is no fuel available to support brain growth.
If a child is malnourished in their toddler years, even if they receive the correct nutrition later on, it may not be able to undo the harm that was done by dietary deficiencies in those vital early stages.
A balanced diet is essential for toddlers. Without the correct nutrients, damage can be done to the developing body. Specific nutrient deficiencies can cause particular issues:
This is caused by a lack of iron in the diet, which is vital for cognitive growth. Therefore, low iron can result in both anaemia and behavioural changes or lack of brain development.
- Calcium And Vitamin D
The combination of these two nutrients is needed for proper bone formation. If the levels in the diet are too low, then this can leave the child susceptible to weak bones and even to osteoporosis in adulthood.
This is a mineral that is found at a high level in the brain and the synaptic vessels. When zinc lacks in the diet, this can lead to issues with both short and long-term memory and with attention span.
The Ideal Diet
As for adults, the perfect diet for toddlers should be based on lots of fruit and vegetables with healthy meats and minimal sugar and bad fats. Children who do not eat sufficient fruit and vegetables show higher incidences of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer when they are adults.
As our babies grow, their need for calories increases and their feeding frequency decreases. Toddlers need the energy to run around and find their feet as well as for a tremendous amount of growth. Some parents like to continue to feed their toddlers with formula to ensure that they are getting the right number of calories and nutrients. This might be a good idea for your toddler.
Feeding Your Toddler
By the time your infant is a year old, he or she should be eating a mainly solid diet. The diet should be varied and include whole grains, dairy products, meats and of course lots of fruit and vegetables. Your toddler will not be able to eat very much in one sitting. Therefore, you might find they need four meals per day and four or so snacks. Encourage them to eat by cutting the food up into bite-sized chunks.
As stated, it is vital to ensure that your toddler has all the nutrition they need for this period of exponential growth. Try out lots of different foods and don’t forget that formula can be used to fortify their diets to ensure that all their nutritional needs are met.
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