What Should Toddlers Eat for Optimal Development?
Our daily diet affects us more than we realise. Truly, what we eat has effects not just on our physical health and abilities, but also on our cognitive capacities, psychology and overall functioning.
Those effects are greatly magnified to toddlers (1 to 3 year olds) because of their small bodies and fast-developing brains. This is the period wherein crucial neural connections are being formed and their physical foundations are being built. That’s why it’s important to provide them the nutrients they require whether they’re at home or at the early childhood learning centre.
Munch & Move
Government agencies and other organisations have already formulated and implemented health initiatives such as Munch & Move (source) to support the children’s growth and wellbeing. Some of the key priorities of this initiative are the following:
- Choose water as a drink
- Choose healthier snacks
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Get active each day
The overall goal is to promote and encourage healthy eating and physical activity habits. After all, it’s difficult or almost impossible to learn and function well if the human body can’t keep up. This especially applies to children where much of their learning heavily depends on their play and how they interact with objects and the surroundings. This requires physical activity (lots of it) and enough energy so kids will have sufficient opportunities for playtime.
As a result, nutritional meals and snacks should always be available to children whether at home or at the early childhood learning centre. Aside from meeting their energy requirements, the meals and snacks should also provide nutrients essential for their physical growth and development. This way, toddlers can build a strong physical foundation for their future and keep up with their peers when it comes to their weight and height.
What should toddlers eat then?
More fruits and vegetables, water as the drink (no to sugary and caffeinated beverages) and healthier snacks. This seems fundamental but sticking to the basics actually results to huge benefits (especially when it comes to physical health).
But it doesn’t have to be all bland and boring. For example, here at Star Academy Kids Early Learning Centre, our program includes a 4-week rotating seasonal menu that meets children’s needs, taking into account their nutritional and energy requirements. We also prepare alternative meals for kids with allergies and special dietary or cultural requirements. Contact us today if you want to learn more about our menus that have been developed in accordance with the Munch & Move program.