There are 3 main suppliers of nutrients for our bodies: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Those are what we normally refer to macronutrients as, contrary to vitamins and minerals, we need large quantities of those nutrients for our bodies to function properly. As toddlers try to gain more control over what kind of food they eat and quantities, it is vital to teach them the importance of a healthy and balance diet.
Let's look at what micronutrients are and why we need them.
Not only carbohydrates are the best source of energy, the brain also uses the glucose from carbohydrates to feed itself. As the brain of a toddler is growing at a fast rate and to make sure it functions to it's best it needs a high amount of carbohydrate.
It's important to offer toddlers a variety of different starchy food, including wholegrain,
potatoes (preferably with skin on as it contains fibre), bread, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, oats, couscous and other grains.
Protein is responsible for the growth, maintenance and repair of the body.
It is important to vary the source of protein intake, making sure to also include oily fish as they are also a source of omega 3.
Good sources of protein are lean meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, pulses, beans and soya products.
Our bodies need a small amount of fat as it carries essential fatty acids which our bodies cannot produce.
There are two kinds of fat: saturated and unsaturated.
As part of a healthy diet, we should try and swap unsaturated fats for saturated fats, to maintain as too much saturated fat pose a risk to health and can also increase the risk of heart disease in the future.
Saturated fat: animal products such as fatty meats, butter, lard, ghee, and dairy products and foods made with these such as cakes, biscuits and pastries.
Unsaturated fats: olive, rapeseed, sunflower and corn oils, oily fish, nuts and seeds.