Basic Nutrition for Toddler

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

Q. “I need the simplest of simple balanced meal ideas for my one-year-old daughter.  My husband and I both are somewhat overweight and come from overweight parents and we’d like to do all we can to keep this from being our little girl’s problem, too!”

A. Your daughter will be VERY grateful for your efforts.  You are 100% correct in thinking that you can keep her from having a weight and fitness issue if you start her on the right foods and—maybe more importantly—a healthy nutritional attitude.

In spite of what you might have read, babies and toddlers do not need a high fat intake for their “developing brains.”  Think about it:  How many people in America don’t get enough fat in their diets or are actually concerned about being too lean??

Here’s my ideal diet for your daughter:

Fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds (offer them and eventually she’ll eat some)

Simple grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and plain puffed corn

Pastas chopped fine and teaching her about more than “white spaghetti”

Beans!  Garbanzos, black beans, kidney beans limas, edamames, and lots of others

A little tofu, maybe some chicken or turkey (I’m a thirty-year vegetarian and have a strong bias )

Olive oil in moderation is good for all of us. Most other oils contain an unhealthy “fat pattern” while olive oil is high in healthy “monounsaturates.”

Salt is not a healthy seasoning but almost all the rest of them are healthy.  Garlic is particularly good for kids and adults.

Now, perhaps the key to this whole issue is not letting your daughter develop a fondness for buttered foods, greasy foods like French fries and chips, and too much pizza.