Health & Nutrition Toddlers

Essential Nutrients for Toddlers

Eating well and eating right offers your children with the right nutrition to meet their growing needs.


“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

– -Hippocrates

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Health Promotion Board of Singapore (HPB), “For optimal growth, development and health… recommend exclusive breastfeeding (with no other food or drink) for the first 6 months (i.e. 180 days) of a baby’s life. Mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their children until they are 12 months old and thereafter as long as mutually desired, together with the timely introduction of solid food from 6 months of age.”

Breastmilk is the most natural and best milk source for babies, and breastfeeding is encouraged by medical experts. When it is not practiced due to medical conditions or other concerns, formula milk is introduced, and toddlers may continue to consume breastmilk, formula milk or start on fresh milk to complement their diet.

Toddlers require a wholesome diet to support their development, fuelling them with energy and nutrients for healthy growth!

What are some of the essential nutrients toddlers need?

Children from one to three years old enter toddlerhood, and this is also the phase when they undergo development in all areas such as cognitive, emotional, motor skills to name a few. Nutrients from the food they eat provide them with the essential nourishment to promote and support healthy development as their organs mature alongside their physical growth.

Some of the essential nutrients that toddlers need are:



  • Carbohydrates provide a source of energy to toddlers, and these active bubs need plenty of energy to fuel their daily activities.
  • Food sources: Carbohydrates can be obtained through food such as grains, rice, noodles, bread and cereals.


  • Proteins are necessary to help babies build their bodies and supports their growth. Dietary proteins are digested into amino acids, which help maintain the development of organs, muscles, bones, teeth, hair and skin.
  • Food sources: Offer high protein foods such as vegetables, meats, beans, eggs, dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.


  • Besides supplying a major source of energy, lipids help reduce body heat loss and act as padding to protect body organs. Lipids also aid in the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E and K, which are needed to build baby’s immunity, vision and skin health. Essential fatty acids (e.g. ARA and DHA) associated with visual and neural development while further studies are warranted (i.e. sample size, duration, dosage)*.
  • Food sources: Fatty fish such as salmon and cod offer healthy fats such as DHA and Omega-3 along with proteins. Avocadoes are fruit sources that provide good fats to support healthy development, and are known as superfoods as they pack wholesome nutrients


  • Needed to build strong bones and teeth, calcium absorption is enhanced with the presence of Vitamin D. Experts suggest that an adequate intake of calcium during childhood may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis during the later years.
  • Food sources: Milk is a common source for calcium for children. Besides dairy options such as cheese and yogurt, other non-dairy food with high calcium includes tofu, soy beans and soy milk, oranges, almonds, beef, broccoli, peas and ikan bilis.
To offer variety to your toddler, try cooking food with different methods, herbs and spices so he obtains a range of nutrients.



  • Required for the normal functioning of cells, choline is linked to memory and learning functions of a child too.
  • Food sources: Animal and plant-based sources such as beef, eggs, salmon and cauliflower.


  • Iron is necessary for the formation of haemoglobin, which help to carry oxygen around to the organ and muscles through red blood cells. Research advise that iron deficiency leads to poor weight gain, irritability, pale skin and poor appetite. Toddlers with low iron levels or are anaemic, iron-rich food should be added to their diet. For ideal absorption, consume with food rich in Vitamin C.
  • Food sources: Heme sources (meat) such as beef, pork, lamb, liver, veal, chicken; non-heme sources (plants) such as spinach, broccoli, legumes, beans, eggs, lentils, and iron-fortified food such as cereal, whole grain bread and enriched pasta.

Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A is needed to support toddler’s visual development, immune system and promotes healthy skin and hair.
  • Food sources: Eggs, milk, and dark coloured or orange coloured fruit and vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, papaya and peaches.

Vitamin E

  • A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E helps to protect the body against germs, and supports healthy development in toddlers.
  • Food sources: Nuts such as peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, wheatgerm, broccoli and kiwi.


Vitamin C are iron-rich food are friends – when taken together, Vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of iron by the body.

Vitamin C

  • Besides promoting the absorption of iron and calcium, Vitamin C is needed for wound healing and resist infection, and helps maintain bone and teeth health in toddlers*.
  • Food sources: Citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons, guava, kiwi, strawberries, honeydew

Depending on individual babies, nutritional needs may vary. Experts advise that a healthy balanced diet would suffice in providing the essential nutrients needed for toddlers. While supplements should not substitute a diet, toddlers on special diets or have medical concerns may consider doctor-prescribed supplements.

Consult a nutritionist of health expert when in doubt. After all, eating right is key to raising world-ready citizens for our future too.



2 replies on “Essential Nutrients for Toddlers”

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Health & Nutrition Toddlers














  • 碳水化合物为幼儿提供能量,活跃的小家伙们需要充足的能量来进行日常活动。
  • 食物来源:可通过谷物、大米、面条、面包和谷物等食物获取碳水化合物。


  • 蛋白质是婴儿身体发育所必需的营养物质。饮食中的蛋白质经过消化变成氨基酸,有助于器官、肌肉、骨骼、牙齿、头发和皮肤的生长发育。
  • 食物来源:富含蛋白质的食物有蔬菜、肉类、豆类、鸡蛋、奶酪和酸奶等乳制品。


  • 脂肪不仅是身体的主要能量来源,还有助于减少体内的热量流失,并作为填充物保护身体器官。脂肪还可促进维生素A、D、E和K的吸收,是提高婴儿免疫力、视力和皮肤健康所必需的物质。与视觉和神经发育密切相关的脂肪酸(例如花生四烯酸和二十二碳六烯酸)还需作进一步研究(即样本大小、持续时间、剂量)*。
  • 食物来源:鲑鱼和鳕鱼等多脂鱼含有健康的脂肪,如二十二碳六烯酸、ω-3脂肪酸和蛋白质。牛油果也含有健康的脂肪,可以促进健康成长,因其有益健康的营养物质而被誉为“超级食品”

  • 钙有助于形成强健的骨骼和牙齿,维生素D会促进钙的吸收。专家表示,在儿童时期摄入充足的钙有助于降低晚年患骨质疏松症的风险。
  • 食物来源:儿童通常从牛奶中摄入钙。除奶酪和酸奶等乳制品外,其他含钙量高的非乳制食品还包括豆腐、大豆和豆浆、橙子、杏仁、牛肉、西兰花、豌豆和江鱼仔。



  • 胆碱是维持细胞正常机能所必需的物质,也与儿童的记忆和学习机能有关。
  • 食物来源:牛肉、鸡蛋、鲑鱼和花椰菜等动植物来源。

  • 铁是形成血红蛋白所必需的物质,血红蛋白可通过红细胞将氧气输送至各个器官和肌肉。研究表明,缺铁会导致体重增长缓慢、烦躁不安、皮肤苍白、食欲不振。对于铁含量低或贫血的幼儿,应在其饮食中增加富含铁的食物。为促进铁的吸收,多食用富含维生素C的食物。
  • 食物来源:含血红素铁(肉类)的食物有牛肉、猪肉、羊肉、肝脏、小牛肉、鸡肉;含非血红素铁(植物)的食物有菠菜、西兰花、豆类、鸡蛋、扁豆和加铁食品,如谷类食品、全麦面包和意大利面。


  • 维生素A有助于幼儿的视觉发育和免疫系统健康,并促进健康的皮肤和头发。
  • 食物来源:鸡蛋、牛奶、深色或橙色水果和蔬菜,如胡萝卜、菠菜、芥兰、南瓜、红薯、杏子、木瓜和桃子。


  • 维生素E是一种强效抗氧化剂,有益于保护身体免受细菌侵害,并促进幼儿的健康发育。
  • 食物来源:花生等坚果、花生酱、杏仁、葵花籽、菠菜、麦芽、西兰花和猕猴桃。




  • 维生素C不仅可以促进铁和钙的吸收,还有利于伤口愈合和抵抗感染,保持幼儿的骨骼和牙齿健康*。
  • 食物来源:橙子和柠檬等柑橘类水果、番石榴、猕猴桃、草莓、蜜瓜。



* 资料摘自恩宁奶粉媒体发布会上Esther Chong博士的演讲-“儿童必需的营养物质”。

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