You may provide healthy and balanced meals and snacks, but that doesn't mean your 2-year-old is going to eat them. You may worry that between the finickiness, food jags and meal skipping, your toddler is not getting all the nutrients needed to grow. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children don't need additional vitamin supplementation beyond the recommended dietary allowances. Knowing the vitamin needs for a 2-year-old may help ease your mind that your little one is getting enough. Consult your pediatrician if concerned about your child's diet and nutrient intake.
The fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. A 2-year-old needs 300 micrograms of vitamin A, 200 international units of vitamin D, 6 milligrams of vitamin E and 30 micrograms of vitamin K. If your 2-year-old drinks milk, getting enough vitamin A and D should not be a problem, with 149 micrograms of vitamin A and 115 to 124 IU of vitamin D in a 1-cup serving of skim milk. Carrots, sweet potatoes and eggs are also good sources of vitamin A, while vitamin D is also found in yogurt and salmon, as well as eggs. Using vegetable oils, such as safflower oil, can help your 2-year-old get enough vitamin E, as can mangoes and kiwi fruit. Broccoli and spinach are both good sources of vitamins E and K.
The group of B vitamins includes thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamins B-6 and B-12. The vitamins are found in a variety of foods, and a deficiency of any of them is rare in the U.S., according to the Colorado State University Extension. Meat, poultry, milk, cereal, bread, eggs and vegetables can all help your 2-year-old get his daily dose of B vitamins. If your child does not eat animal products, you may need to discuss the need to supplement with vitamin B-12 with your pediatrician.
Vitamin C deficiency is also rare in the U.S., says the Colorado State University Extension. A 2-year-old needs 15 milligrams of vitamin C a day. One orange contains 70 milligrams. Other good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, red and green peppers, green peas, kiwi fruit and cantaloupe.
You can't force your 2-year-old to eat something she doesn't want to eat, but providing a variety of healthy foods throughout the day helps ensure she gets the nutrients she needs to grow and develop. A healthy and balanced diet for a 2-year-old includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, grains such as bread and cereal, lean proteins like chicken, and low-fat dairy. A 2-year-old may be too busy playing and exploring to take time out to eat; offer healthy snacks such as sliced kiwi fruit or whole-wheat bread and cheese to help her meet her vitamin needs.
- HealthyChildren.org: Where We Stand: Vitamins
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamins
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- University of North Carolina School of Medicine: Vitamin K Content of Common Foods
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: My Daily Food Plan: Two-Year-Old