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There are a number of essential nutrients that a toddler needs. They must have Vitamin D and Calcium in addition to fiber and iron. These nutrients are important in ensuring proper brain and nerve development. These nutrients should be included in a toddler’s diet in moderate amounts.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for infants and toddlers, and a deficiency can have negative health effects. However, limited studies have shown that vitamin D intake can be met with foods that contain adequate amounts of the nutrient. The amount of vitamin D found in animal-based foods varies from two to eighteen times higher than that found in plants.

Vitamin D functions as a hormone that regulates the immune system, cell growth, and insulin production. An infant and toddler should get at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. However, older children and adolescents may need higher doses of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also essential for bone growth. Sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D. In addition to vitamin D fortified foods, parents should also consider vitamin D supplements. Ask your doctor about vitamin D supplementation for infants and toddlers at their next checkup. You can also check the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website for more information about vitamin D for babies and toddlers.


Calcium is an essential nutrient for the growth and development of the body. It is used for many bodily functions, including bone growth, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion. It is found in milk and dairy products and can also be found in fortified foods. It is recommended that children from birth to three years consume approximately 700 milligrams of calcium each day. This amount increases to one thousand milligrams per day for children aged four to eight.

Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. To meet the recommended daily allowance of this nutrient, children between the ages of one and three years should consume at least two cups of dairy products a day. A toddler may be able to meet all of their daily calcium needs through milk alone, but some children may need a supplement.

Calcium absorption varies depending on the body’s needs. While serum calcium levels are usually around eight to ten milligrams per deciliter, they do not reflect nutritional status. This is because calcium levels are tightly under homeostatic control in the body. The biologically active form of calcium in the blood is called ionized calcium. Serum levels of ionized calcium in the blood are 4.6 to 5.3 milligrams per deciliter. For a more comprehensive assessment of calcium absorption, dual x-ray absorption testing may be performed.


Although children may be finicky eaters, providing a nutritious meal is essential for a growing toddler. A balanced diet with a wide variety of foods will ensure that your toddler gets the right amount of iron. To keep iron levels high, rotate your child’s iron-rich foods throughout the day. For instance, you should avoid serving your toddler breakfast cereal, which is usually loaded with sodium and sugar.

The best source of iron for your toddler is meat, which contains large amounts of heme iron, which is easier for the body to absorb. Beef is a good choice, as is organ and liver meat. Turkey meat and dark chicken are also rich sources of iron. Spaghetti made with meat and tomato sauce is another iron-rich choice. Increasing your toddler’s intake of fortified cereals can also help.

In addition to meat, seafood, and dairy products, your toddler should also consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whole grain breads and cereals are also a good source of fiber. Potassium helps keep cells healthy and allows neural messaging. It also contributes to heart muscle function and maintains healthy blood vessels.


One of the major nutrient requirements during toddler ages is fiber. This nutrient helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps cholesterol levels in check. Children should get at least five grams of fiber daily. Fiber-rich carbohydrates take longer to break down and do not spike blood sugar as quickly as simple carbohydrates. Some healthy foods with fiber include fruit and vegetables. In addition, fiber-rich foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and potassium.


In the United States, dietary fiber intake has been shown to average 7-9 grams per day in toddlers and 10-11.5 grams per day for preschoolers. However, few children meet this level. Therefore, a more moderate intake of fiber may be a better goal for parents. This lower level of intake may also be associated with higher levels of other nutrients.

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