Nutritional Guidelines for Toddlers
To tackle this challenging topic, it’s best to start with the basics. Below are a set of guidelines for nutrients critical to toddlers, a list of the foods that provide them, and — getting to the heart of the matter — ideas for how to get them to eat that food.
Daily requirements for a one-to-three-year-old:
1. Protein: A minimum of 16 grams a day. 16 ounces of milk plus one ounce of meat is ample protein for a toddler.
2. 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.
3. 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
4. Sodium: 325-1000 mg.
5. Vitamin C: 40 mg.
6. Vitamin A: 400 ug. RE
7. Calcium: 800 mg. Even if a child drinks the recommended two cups of milk a day, he still needs 200 more milligrams of calcium. Offer yogurt, cheese, tofu, and leafy greens.
8. Iron: 10 mg.
9. Zinc: 10 mg. A mild zinc deficiency in toddlers is more common than realized. Symptoms are poor appetite, sub-optimal growth and reduced sense of taste and smell. The best sources of zinc are meat, eggs and seafood.
10. Folate: 50 ug.
The last four are the ones most often deficient in toddlers.