A toddler's body is growing at a very fast rate, and requires a great deal of nutrition in order to meet her body's increasing demands. Feeding your toddler a healthy, nourishing diet helps ensure that she'll be healthy, strong and that her body will be able to grow properly. When shopping at the grocery store, take along a list of healthy food choices.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins and minerals that are vital for a toddler's proper nutrition. These nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium and the B vitamins ensure that a toddler has enough nourishment to grow and maintain bone and muscle. Because toddlers are still getting used to their teeth and chewing food, fruits and vegetables must be cut into small, bite-sized pieces to avoid the possibility of choking. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples, green beans, carrots and bananas. The more colorful the fruits or vegetables, the higher the concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains are minimally processed. They contain minerals, fiber, and proteins necessary for muscle growth, development and maintaining proper digestion. Whole grain foods include whole wheat breads, crackers and baked goods made with whole grain flours. Avoid breads and flours that are refined or overly processed, as they are devoid of nutrients and don't provide any vitamins or minerals to a growing toddler's body.
Proteins help toddlers build muscles, and help them grow strong and healthy hair and nails. Animal proteins should be cut up into small pieces so that toddlers don't accidentally choke on a piece of meat or fish. Non-animal proteins, such as beans or peanut butter, as generally enjoyed by toddlers. These can be used as the base of healthy sandwiches. Some toddlers are allergic to peanut butter, so keeping an eye on your toddler as he tries peanut butter for the first time is a good idea. Avoid proteins that are high in saturated fats or are overly processed, such as hot dogs or sausages. These types of meats can contain nitrate and nitrites that can be harmful for toddlers to ingest in large quantities.