12 must-have nutrients to include in junior’s diet

Food nutrients help junior stay healthy and function well. These provide them the energy to grow, learn and be active.

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Your little one is growing and developing every day, so his body needs all the help it can get from nutritious and healthy food. Junior will avoid nutritional deficiencies if you give him a balanced diet with the right nutrients.

Parkway East Hospital dietitian Louis Yap points out that your munchkin is likely to experience insufficient iron, calcium and fibre intake because of our culture, diet and lifestyle.

Yap also notes that parents prefer feeding porridge to their children out of convenience. Under such circumstances, he says, “There is a potential lack of variety and diversity in food texture and fun which can reduce your tot’s interest to eat a wide range of foods.”

“There is a potential lack of variety and diversity in food texture and fun which can reduce your tot’s interest to eat a wide range of foods.”

The limited food choices results in a reduced intake of vegetables, fruits, proteins, as well as nuts and seeds which are rich sources of iron, calcium, folate and fibre. Also, if your mini-me is fussy about food or has dietary restrictions because of allergies or religious reasons, making sure his food features the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients can be a challenge.

Yap advises, “This requires further consultation with the dietitian and doctor to identify alternative food sources [or supplements] without jeopardising any nutrients.”

That’s why it is crucial not just to feed healthy fare to your sweetie but to expose them to a wide variety of food groups — fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, beans and legumes — from a young age. Here’s a handy list of nutrients and food sources to include...

Infographic: Paulyn Ng

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Find out how much of each nutrient to feed your mini-me… Next!

Protein
HOW MUCH?
1 to 3 years — 19g to 22g daily
3 to 4 years — 25g daily
5 to 7 years — 30g daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of boiled lean chicken breast has 28.98g of protein
100g of simmered and drained minced beef has 23.6g of protein
100g of ordinary tofu has 8.31g of protein

Iron
HOW MUCH?
1 to 7 years — 7mg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of boiled lean chicken breast has 0.88mg of iron
100g of minced pork porridge has 0.7mg of iron
100g of boiled spinach has 3.57mg of iron

Calcium
HOW MUCH?
1 to 3 years — 500mg daily
4 to 6 years — 600mg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100ml of low fat milk has 137mg of calcium
100g of reduced fat cheddar cheese has 801mg of calcium
100g of boiled broccoli has 46mg of calcium

Vitamin A
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 250mcg daily
3 to 6 years — 300mcg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of unsalted butter has 1157mcg of vitamin A
100g of egg tofu has 20.20mcg of vitamin A
100g of boiled chicken liver has 4913mcg of vitamin A
100g of boiled pork liver has 5399mcg of vitamin A

Vitamin B1
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 0.46mg daily
2 to 3 years — 0.54mg daily
3 to 4 years — 0.62mg daily
5 to 6 years — 0.74mg daily (boys)/0.70mg daily (girls)
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of green peas has 0.193mg of vitamin B1
100g of Brussel sprouts has 0.061mg of vitamin B1
100g of fortified white rice has 0.15mg of vitamin B1

Vitamin B2
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 0.69mg daily
2 to 3 years — 0.81mg daily
3 to 4 years — 0.93mg daily
5 to 6 years — 1.11mg daily (boys)/1.05mg daily (girls)
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of boiled asparagus has 0.1mg of vitamin B2
100g of Brussel sprouts has 0.061mg of vitamin B2
100g of fortified white rice has 0.15mg of vitamin B2

Vitamin B3
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 7.6mg daily
2 to 3 years — 8.9mg daily
3 to 4 years — 10.2mg daily
5 to 6 years — 12.2mg daily (boys)/11.6mg daily (girls)
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of raw banana has 0.7mg of vitamin B3
100g of boiled spinach has 0.5mg of vitamin B3
100g of boiled kale has 0.5mg of vitamin B3

Vitamin B6
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 0.5mg daily
3 to 6 years — 0.6mg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of boiled asparagus has 0.1mg of vitamin B6
100g of cooked white rice has 0.1mg of vitamin B6
100g of boiled potatoes has 0.2mg of vitamin B6

Vitamin B9
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 150mcg daily
3 to 6 years — 200mcg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of raw banana has 20mcg of vitamin B9
100g of boiled kale has 13mcg of vitamin B9
100g of boiled brown rice has 20mcg of vitamin B9

Vitamin B12
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 0.9mcg daily
3 to 6 years — 1.1 mcg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100ml of low fat milk has 0.6mcg of vitamin B12
1 hard-boiled egg has 0.6mcg of vitamin B12
100ml of fortified soy milk has 0.4mcg of vitamin B12

Vitamin C
HOW MUCH?
1 to 2 years — 35mg daily
3 to 6 years — 50mg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
1 medium orange has 83mg of vitamin C
1 raw medium tomato has 14mg of vitamin C
1 medium cooked sweet potato with skin has 22mg of vitamin C

Vitamin D
HOW MUCH?
1 to 6 years — 10mcg daily
THAT’S ABOUT:
100g of boiled beef liver has 1.225mcg of vitamin D
100g of enriched wholemeal bread has 0.314mcg of vitamin D
100g of canned sardines in oil has 2mcg of vitamin D

Main photo: iStock

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