Toddler Nutrition

As your toddler explores more adventurous tastes, they're also learning the power of the word 'no'. Even with your healthiest intentions, it can be a challenge to make sure they get a perfectly balanced diet each day. Most toddlers' diets fall short of the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals but there are plenty of ways to encourage healthy eating that will pave the way for good habits later on in life.

This section includes advice about providing a nutritionally balanced diet for your toddler, why family foods aren’t always suitable and how you can use foods to support their developing immune system. We also look at the importance of iron for healthy development and what to do if they’re refusing milk or making a mel of dinner times.

The importance of iron

Your baby’s first birthday marks the start of another period of intense growth and development. A healthy, balanced toddler diet, rich in nutrients like iron will help support these changes.

Toddlers’ relatively high iron requirements mean they’re more vulnerable to iron deficiency if they don’t consume iron rich foods regularly.

If your toddler’s iron levels get too low it can leave them tired and lacking in energy. In a small number of cases, low iron levels can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Read more about your toddler’s iron needs, which iron-rich foods you should include in their diet and other ways you can make sure they get enough.

Iron is essential to your toddler’s healthy growth and brain development. It’s needed for the production of haemoglobin in healthy blood; haemoglobin carries much-needed oxygen around the body to your toddler’s developing limbs and tissues. The recommended daily amount of iron for toddlers aged 1 to 3 years is 6.9mg.

Try to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your toddler’s daily diet. The iron in foods such as fish and red meat are most easily absorbed so ideally, a healthy, balanced diet should include at least one serving of meat or fish a day.

Other sources of iron include eggs, wholemeal bread, lentils, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables. If your toddler follows a vegetarian diet, you should up their iron intake by serving at least two iron-rich alternative sources a day.

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, so try serving some diluted, unsweetened fruit juice with your toddler’s meal or offering a kiwi fruit for dessert – both are good sources of vitamin C.

Sources of iron:

  • 1 tablespoon of spinach 0.6mg
  • 1 tablespoon of baked beans 0.6mg
  • 20g of chicken breast 0.1mg
  • 20g of minced beef 0.5mg
  • 1 medium slice of wholemeal bread 0.9mg
  • 1 tablespoon of lentils 1mg
  • 1 hard-boiled egg 1mg
  • 300ml of Aptamil Junior with Pronutra Growing up Milk 3.6mg

Even with a varied diet, it can be tricky for your toddler to get the recommended amount of iron they need each day. That’s why we’ve created Aptamil Junior with Pronutra Growing up Milk. Just 300ml a day can provide 40 times the iron found in the same amount of cows’ milk. As well as providing over half of your toddler’s recommended daily iron intake, it also contains our unique blend of GOS/FOS prebiotics which help support your toddler from the inside. Given as part of a balanced diet, the prebiotics, iron and extra vitamin D and C in Aptamil Junior with Pronutra Growing up Milk will ensure your toddler gets the nutrition they need.

If you’ve got any questions about your toddler’s diet, call our Careline team on 800 6458 6262 (UAE)/ +971 4 420 9489 (Other countries) between the hours of 9am and 6pm Saturday to Thursday.