We'll start with some guidelines to show you how much of the critical nutrients your toddler needs and how that translates into food intake, then we'll move onto the more important issue of how to get them to eat that food. The following is a summary of the daily requirements for a one- to three-year-old:
What to eat:
- Protein: A minimum of 16 grams a day. !6 ounces of milk plus one ounce of meat is ample protein for a toddler.
- Fat: At least 30 percent of a toddler's calories should come from fat. Too little can result in "failure to thrive" where children do not get enough food to supply their energy and growth needs.
- Calories: 40 calories/day/inch of height = 1000 to 1300 calories/day.
Calorie distribution is apt to look like this:
16 g Protein = 64 calories
44 g Fat = 396 calories
210 g Carbohydrate = 840 calories
Total = 1300 calories
- Sodium: 325 to 1000 mg.
- Vitamin C: 40 mg.
- Vitamin A: 400 ug RE
- Calcium: 800 mg. If a child drinks the recommended 2 cups of milk a day he still needs 200 more milligrams of calcium. Offer yogurt, cheese. tofu, and leafy greens.
- Iron: 10 mg.
- Zinc: 10 mg. A mild zinc deficiency is more common than realized in toddlers. Symptoms are poor appetite, suboptimal growth and reduced sense of taste and smell The best sources are meat, eggs and seafood.
- Folate: 50 ug
The last four are nutrients showing up as the most frequent nutritional inadequacies of toddlers.