By the time your baby is a year old, she should be eating more or less the same food as the rest of the family. A varied diet, introducing plenty of different tastes and textures, will encourage her to develop an adventurous appetite and give her a good balance of nutrients, for optimum health and development.
In her second year, your toddler will no longer be relying on milk as her main source of nutrients. This is the time to start including plenty of foods that are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, essential fatty acids and antioxidants – all of which will help build a strong immune system and promote growth.
Include the foods listed here to boost your tot’s intake of these important nutrients – they’re healthy, colourful and full of the flavours toddlers love!
Full of immune-boosting vitamin C and folic acid, broccoli is great first finger food – if introduced early, children love its ‘tree’ shape. Serve raw in a salad, in a stir-fry, or steamed to preserve its nutrients.
Babies and toddlers adore the natural sweetness of mangoes. Rich in vitamin C and betacarotene, they’re delicious eaten raw as finger food, or whizz half a mango with a banana for a smoothie pudding.
Carrots look appealing and contain betacarotene. Serve lightly cooked as finger food; with a main dish, or in a pasta sauce.
Salmon and other oily fish are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, required for brain development. Make into fish fingers or cakes, or mix with other fish in a fish pie. There are healthy recommendations for the maximum number of portions of oily fish toddlers should be eating each week: up to four for boys, and up to two for girls.
Live, natural yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium and is free from any added sugar, artificial colours, sweeteners and additives found in the ready-flavoured varieties. Add puréed fruit to make your own fruit yogurt.
Very popular with this age group thanks to its sweet, buttery taste, butternut squash is a good source of antioxidant betacarotene and vitamin E. Serve as a purée, as finger food, baked in the oven or added to casseroles and soups.
Blueberries are high in a phytonutrient called anthocyanin, which is believed to serve as a potent antioxidant; they also contain vitamin C. Because they’re pip-free, children love them raw or added to pancakes and cooked puddings.
A good source of vitamin C, kiwi fruit make a colourful addition to a fruit salad, can be eaten with a spoon for a snack, or blended with banana for a smoothie.
It’s not just for Christmas – turkey contains vitamin B12, iron and more zinc than chicken (zinc boosts the immune system and promotes growth). Serve it roasted, in burgers or in stir-fries, soups and stews.