Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Munch : Major Nutritional Requirements for Toddlers {With Free Printable}

I have been inundated with requests to share what I feed Jesse on a daily basis. (Ok, a few people have asked me ;) ) So I decided to share what my son generally eats, to achieve his glowing health.

What glowing health looks like <3

Firstly, Jesse is now 16 months old. He continues to love his mama milk, and nurses about 5 - 6 times a day and a couple of times at night. I love the freedom nursing gives me from worrying about whether he is getting enough calories etc. Toddlers are picky eaters naturally, they eat when they are hungry, and don't when they are not. Their hunger pays no attention to regular meal times or even days. Some days Jesse seems to not stop eating and others he barely consumes more than breastmilk. There are many reasons for this, teething, growth spurts and so on. It is cruel to expect your toddler to adhere to meal times, feed on demand, thus promoting a healthy appetite. I am constantly offering Jess healthy food choices. And he always has a choice, banana or peach?

I have formulated a guide on the major nutritional requirements for young toddlers (aged 1 - 3), which I have printed and stuck to my fridge. This way, on a daily basis I can check what foods Jess needs to eat to have a balanced diet. I have shared it below. If there are readers with older children please contact me for their requirements.

I state the highest RDA, which by the way are minimums, not maximums, for each vitamin. I also include protein as it is so important for growth, but beware of feeding your child too much protein, and aviod animal protein which is acid forming and promotes health problems. Although not vegan, we adhere to a mainly vegan diet.

Click here to view in a new window and print. 



If you take a quick glance at the requirements, you will see that leafy green veg are super important on a daily basis (spinach, kale, etc). Raw is always better, as the nutrients remain intact and superior. But, it is so difficult to get your toddler to eat raw leafy veg, and their little digestive systems do battle to break down the fibrous leaves. I have the answer though, green juice. Juice up your greens, add an apple for taste, et voile! A drink that contains the majority of your toddlers daily nutritional needs. See here for my favourite recipe for green juice. You don't even need to own a juicer, use a blender and simply strain through a sieve. Jesse loves to drink his through a straw, but you may also offer it with a spoon.

Jesse eats fruit as the bulk of his diet. Fruit is a perfect food and even contains protein and fat. Make sure that the base of your toddlers diet is fruit, is you want them to have naturally abundant energy and health. Mix it up, no-one likes to eat boring old apples and bananas every single day. Look out for colourful exotic fruit (preferably organic) as they often are highly nutritious.

I also try to keep the majority of Jess's diet raw, as food is most nutritious in its raw state, but he also enjoys the odd cooked gem squash and butternut.

I have introduced superfoods into Jess's diet, most of which I add to fruit smoothies, along with hemp seed protein powder. They bridge the gap where our over farmed lands, and pesticide laden produce is lacking. 

Jesse also eats the occasional egg, scrambled or boiled for vitamin K2.

I have also started supplementing Jess's diet, as our food just isn't as nutritious as days gone by. The important supplements I have added in on the print out, but see this post for more information on supplementing your child's diet.

So that is my little healthy eaters diet in a nutshell. A few things he doesn't eat is sugar, complex carbohydrates, animal protein other than the occasional egg or any other refined or processed food.

What are your children's favourite healthy foods? Have I left anything off the print-out? Leave a comment, I look forward to hearing from you. 

10 comments:

  1. What impressive attention to detail with your child's nutrition. I remember how frustrated I was with rigid schedules recommended for eating and sleeping when mine were young. Those never worked for me either.

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    1. I wish I would pay this much attention to my own diet ;)

      Yes, I agree, Jesse seems to rebel against rigid schedules, although he does like routine.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Green drinks are a great idea. Over the summer as my green veggies mature, like Kale and beets, after I harvest them, I dehydrate the greens and crumble them up. So easy to beef up drinks and soups even added to salad dressing.

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    1. Im hoping to invest in a dehydrator soon for this very reason, it makes getting the nutrients so convenient.

      Thanks for visiting Jill :)

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  3. Great post! Thanks for the printable. I printed out my copy & will pass it on to a few friends.

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    1. Fantastic, that's great :)

      Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Just what I needed! I'm always thinking what vitamins are present in certain foods... We are leaving winter here at the moment which means leaving behind casseroles and eating more salads, I'm excited to see what E thinks! I'm so glad we have mummy milk to fall back on!

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    1. As the weather gets colder here, Im finding it more difficult to get Jesse to eat fresh fruit and veggies :( Will have to start getting creative! So jealous that you guys are going into Summer ;)

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  5. What a great resource, Christine! Thank you for sharing! We eat in a similar way to you, but organic greens have always been hard to come by around here. It sounds like we're similar to your area of SA, in that there aren't really organic farms nearby. And importing organic produce into a small island ecosystem is a challenge, it seems. We're finally seeing a bit of fresh, organic produce in our stores, however, so I think I'm going to give green juice a shot-especially right now while my milk supply is more or less gone.

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    1. Yes, we really do battle to find organic produce, and when we do it is so expensive. Im trying very had to grow our veggie garden to be able to support us a bit more, that would be ideal. Let me know of your experience with green juice :)

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