Your toddler now is becoming more active and eating more solid meals. Good nutrition provides your child with the nutrients he or she requires for development, health, and energy to play, move, and study. The greatest thing now you can do is provide your toddler with a range of meals from each food category that have diverse flavours, textures, and colours. Dr. Kriti Israni, who specialises in child development, joins us and shares her insights on what your toddler should be eating.
Smoked meat – Smoked or cured meats such as sausages, bologna, and bacon are treated with chemicals, contain nitrates, and are high in sodium and animal fat. Thus, these should not be given to toddlers.
Certain types of Fish– Shellfish like shrimp, clams,and lobster pose a higher threat of choking and allergy. It should be avoided. Also, FDA recommends that you avoid giving young children sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish because of high mercury levels.
Rather opt forfishes that are low in mercury and high in brain-boosting DHA like salmon, trout, sole fish, white fish, and catfish.
Peanut butter –Though peanut butter is rich with oleic acid that helps maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, large chunks of peanuts present in it can pose a high risk of allergy and choke amongst toddlers. That’s why peanut butter should not be consumed by toddlers.
Sugary TreatslikeCandies, Marshmallows & Chocolates – Candies & Marshmallows are mostly chewy and sticky; they pose a choking hazard if consumed by children. Additionally, high sugar content and food chemicals in these productspose a great health risk. Along with a risk of the high sugar level, chocolates also contain caffeine that can misdirect a child’s brain.
Sugar has adverse effects on brain development and gut health. It risks the chances of making your child moody, hyperactive, and prone to insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes in the later stage of life. Sugar releases adrenaline, a stress hormone, that causes restlessness in toddlers and disrupts their sleep cycle. It also disrupts your child’s development of flavors and creates an addiction to added sugar.
Another common effect sugar can have is cold flu-like symptoms in children. Try substituting sugar cravings with naturally sweet foods as the added sugar in food can create havoc in children’s bodies.
Processed juice & Soft drinks– These drinks have absolutely no nutritional value but add empty calories to your child’s body. They might also be high in caffeine which can adversely affect brain development. The sugar content in the drinks can cause a change in taste buds and reduced likeness for natural foods & vegetables. Additionally, large consumption can result in tooth decay, diarrhea, and other chronic stomach troubles.
Undercooked eggs– Undercooked eggs can contain salmonella and cause foodpoisoning, abdominal cramps, headache, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Large pieces of meat – Large pieces of meat can be high in saturated fat and pose a higher choking hazard. Undercooked meat poses a greater risk of food poisoning and symptoms like stomach ache, diarrhea, and fever.
Refined grains – Refined grains are stripped of nutrients during the refining process. Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains in white flours. Whole grains are high in nutrients and fibers that support healthy digestion. They also lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic inflammation, and obesity in the future. Starting early can help your little one make smarter food choices in life.
Also Read: Debunking 4 common myths about dieting