Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Select An Article

This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive

Font Size

What and How Much to Feed Your Toddler

Experts explain how to provide toddlers with the nutritious food they need for their growing bodies.
(continued)

Feeding Toddlers: What About Multivitamins? continued...

Multis with vitamin D may be in order if your toddler doesn't get the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D daily. 

The body makes vitamin D; its production is initiated in the skin by strong sunlight. Living in a northern climate increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency in children and adults, making the case for supplemental vitamin D compelling.  

Few foods other than milk are good sources of vitamin D. Some good ones include:

  • Cereal, ready-to-eat, fortified: 40-60 IU for 3/4 to 1 cup.
  • Fortified orange juice: 50 IU for 4 ounces.
  • Eggs, whole (yolk): 20-40 IU for one large.

 

Feeding Toddlers: How Much Salt?

Zied and Altman agree: Children should become accustomed at a young age to the natural flavors of food rather than to a salty taste.

But it may come as a surprise that the salt shaker is a minor source of sodium in the American diet.

Processed foods, including toddler favorites such as hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets, provide 75% of the sodium we eat.

Too much dietary sodium has been linked to high blood pressure in adults. Research suggests a lower sodium intake during childhood may lessen the risk of high blood pressure with age.

While it's a good idea to avoid the salt shaker, it's even better to cook from scratch as much as possible. "Limit processed products and season food with herbs and spices to cut down on the salt in your family's diet," Zied advises.

Feeding Toddlers: How Much Sugar?

It’s not possible to totally escape sugar. Natural sugars are present in some of the most nutritious foods, including fruit, veggies, and milk.

But a bigger concern is the overall quality of the food. Whole foods have many nutrients to offer.  Processed, sugary foods -- such as candy, cake, and cookies -- are often packed with fat and lack other nutrients. Added sugar is found in healthier choices also, such as breakfast cereals, yogurt, and snack bars. 

Zied says older children get upwards of 25% of their calories from sugar, far too much to ensure nutritional adequacy.

"Generally speaking, sugary foods are OK in small doses," Zied says.

She suggests avoiding soft drinks and limiting fruit juice intake as well as serving no more (and preferably less) than 25 to 38 grams of added sugar a day, the equivalent of two to three Oreo cookies.  

1|2|3
Reviewed on October 20, 2011
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

family walking on the beach
Slideshow
two boys in a swing
Article
 
mistakes_parents_make_with_toddlers_2.jpg
Article
woman with cleaning products
Slideshow
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow