What nutrients does your pre-schooler need for healthy development?
All parents know the importance of creating a balanced diet for their toddlers, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the differing dietary information out in the world. We’ve pulled together some tips and advice to help you get some key nutrients your pre-schooler needs into their diet, helping to support their healthy development.
Visit our Pre-schoolers page for the key milestones to expect as your pre-schooler grows and develops.
Offer a variety of fruit and veg
Providing five different portions of fruit and vegetables a day will help your pre-schoolers get a range of vitamins and minerals into their diet. One portion should roughly be the size of your kid’s palm. Frozen and canned fruit (preferably in their own juice or water) and vegetables count towards their 5-a-day, as do unsweetened fruit juices, however, only one glass of fruit juice counts per day.
Top tip: Look at our ‘Fuss-Free Recipes’ for some new meal ideas, hopefully this will help you include more fruit and vegetables in your pre-schoolers diets.
Provide plenty of protein1
Protein is essential for lots of different important functions in the body, from growth, and healthy bones to brain development. Including protein rich foods in your kid’s diet is key, you can get protein from animal and plant sources. Animal sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese, whilst plant sources include beans and pulses.
Top tip: Try to include fish twice a week, with one being an oily variety, such as salmon, mackerel or trout.1 Why not try out ‘Crunchy Fish Bites’ for a tasty midweek meal.
Count on carbohydrates
Children need a source of carbohydrates with every meal. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy and they can help to keep your pre-schoolers brains engaged by providing glucose to the brain throughout the day.
Top tip: Try and provide wholegrain options for your children. After 13 months, children should be able to digest wholegrain options, such as wholegrain breads, muesli and pasta.1
Growing children sometimes don’t get enough vitamin A and C, and vitamin D can be difficult to get enough through food alone. That’s why the Department of Health recommends that children from 6 months to five years old are given supplements containing vitamins A, C and D. PaediaSure Shake is a nutritional shake for children aged 1-10 years, packed full of 26 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and D. PaediaSure Shake provides their essential nutrients in a drink, which kids love the great taste of. It comes in three flavours chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Top tip: Read our ‘Could your child be getting more from their diet?’ blog to help your child get more from their diet and supplements.
Don’t forget dairy foods1
Dairy foods can provide the body with multiple vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin A and B12. There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral. Calcium is an essential nutrient for all children to have, as it helps develop strong teeth and bones.
Top tip: For children from 1-2 years, full-fat milk should be offered. After two years, you can switch from full-fat to semi-skimmed milk.
- BBC Food Good, 2016: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/healthy-eating-what-young-children-need Accessed August 2017
- NHS Choices, 2015: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-for-children.aspx Accessed August 2017