5 myths and facts about toddler nutrition

By Team ParentCircle

Are you confused about what to feed your toddler? After all, there are many myths — eggs should not be given to toddlers, bland foods are best for them, cow’s milk could affect their digestion, etc. Naturally, parents are often faced with a barrage of doubts when it comes to toddlers and their nutritional needs.

Toddlerhood is a period of tremendous growth, both physically and mentally. The right nutrition, at the appropriate time and in the most conducive manner, is vital for your toddler to reach his developmental milestones. However, it will help if parents know about the ‘facts’ behind the ‘myths’ regarding their toddler’s nutrition.

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We bring you 5 such myths and facts:

Myth #1: Toddlers should only be given bland food

Fact: Parents often stick to tried and trusted bland foods for their toddlers such as cereals and soups. This is not a hard and fast rule! Parents can offer their toddlers foods which are mildly flavoured with spices like cumin or herbs like curry leaves. Your toddler’s diet should be rich in nutrients and include local and seasonal foods too.

Expert input: “The earlier you introduce a variety of foods, the more open he/she will be to try them out. A lot of the brain development happens at this stage, so it is important to offer foods with B12, Vitamin D, calcium and a few other nutrients that are good for the brain,” says Dr Purnima Prabu, a child nutritionist.

Myth #2: Eggs contain cholesterol and fats and are not safe for toddlers

Fact: So, do you think your toddler should not be given eggs? You may be in for a surprise! An excellent source of iron, eggs are wholesome and essential for your toddler’s growth and development.

Expert input: Nutritionist Priya Kathpal says, “Eggs can be given to toddlers above the age of six months as these are an excellent source of nutrients. Always introduce the yellow part of the egg, i.e. the yolk, first. You can do so by mixing small amounts of it in your toddler’s food. The next day, try out the white part of the egg. You should feed the yolk and the white part on two separate days. This is a good way to test if your child has any allergies. Once, you observe that your child can digest both, whole eggs can be safely given to your toddler in any form she prefers.”

Myth #3: If your toddler rejects a food, do not give it to him again

Fact: Are you guilty of giving in to your child’s food choices? You are not alone. But if you don’t want a future fussy eater at home, try out the same food several times over, says our expert.

Expert input: Priya says, “Toddlers are experiencing new things (tastes, flavours) every day when it comes to food. However, by eliminating a food that your toddler hates, you may be depriving him of essential nutrients. Try serving the food in different ways till your toddler develops a taste for it.”

Myth #4: Juice is healthy for your toddler

Fact: This is not necessarily true! The moment you crush a fruit to make juice, some essential nutrients are lost. It’s better to introduce bits and pieces of fresh and seasonal fruits to your toddler. If you must give juice, opt for freshly squeezed homemade ones.

Expert input: According to Priya Kathpal, “Homemade juices from fresh fruits are better than store-bought ones. Readymade fruit juice may contain added sugar that can negatively impact your toddler’s health. However, encourage your toddler to eat the whole fruit. Try offering the fruit in the form of small pieces to your toddler but, only under supervision.

Myth #5: Milk is compulsory for a toddler’s strong bone growth

Fact: Mother’s milk is the best food for a toddler. And milk is necessary for strong bones. However, if your toddler does not want to drink milk, do not fret! She can still get her required dose of calcium from other sources.

Expert input: Priya clarifies, “Milk is a good source of calcium which is required for bone growth. But, if your toddler absolutely refuses to drink milk, try other milk-based products like yoghurt, cheese and even, ice cream. If your child is allergic to or simply does not like milk and milk-based products, opt for fortified soy milk and leafy greens to fulfil his nutritional needs. “

Parents, we all know that feeding your toddler the right way may seem an impossible task at times! But, ensure that you do not force feed and, offer only plain water before, during and after meals. Use many flavours from different herbs and spices instead of salt.

Every parent wants to raise a child who is open to trying different foods. This is possible only when you introduce a mix of colourful, seasonal and traditional foods in your toddler’s diet so that your child derives the maximum possible nutritional benefits.

With expert inputs from Priya Kathpal, nutritionist and founder of Nutrify.

This article is part of season 3 of 9 Months, a popular web series from Firstpost, where ParentCircle is the official Magazine Partner.

This is a partnered post.

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2018 15:07:29 IST

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