According to the Oxford dictionary, a toddler is defined as a young child who is just beginning to walk. babies who are 12-36 months old fall in this category. As a guideline, children in this age usually should be given 3 meals, 2-3 snacks and adequate amounts of water.
There are certain foods that should not be given to toddlers too. In this blog we will look at 7 such foods:
- Foods high in salt
Too much sodium is harmful for babies’ kidneys. But it is important to remember that sodium is not just present in salt, but there are many hidden sources of unnecessary sodium that you should keep in mind. Some of them are:
- packaged meals
- pickles and chutneys
- baked goods
- processed meats like sausages
- Frozen ready to eat foods
More often than not, frozen foods contain high amounts of sodium. So even though they are easy and convenient, remember that they are not healthy for your toddlers and should be avoided.
Sugar in a toddlers diet is completely unnecessary. It does not provide any nutrition and is a leading cause of tooth decay, obesity and other lifestyle disorders. You must also keep in mind hidden sources of sugar like:
- readymade sauces and dressings
- curry pastes
- packaged foods
- jams and preserves
- baked goods
- flavoured yogurts
- Whole nuts and peanuts
Young children should not be given whole nuts and peanuts simply because they pose a choking hazard. You can give these in powder form, crushed or butter form from 6 months onwards. in case of any family history of an allergy from nuts and peanuts, please consult your physician or dietitian before introducing these.
- Raw or lightly cooked eggs
Well cooked eggs can be given to babies from 6 months onwards. make sure that both the white and the yolk are cooked enough so they become solid. Uncooked or runny eggs are the major cause of food borne illness due to Salmonella. Eggs are also a common allergy causing foods so introduce in small quantities and watch out for any allergy type symptom.
- Some types of cheeses
Cheese can be introduced at 6 months as they are a good source of protein, calcium and vitamins. But there are a few precautions you need to take:
- the cheese should be pasteurised full fat cheese like mild cheddar, cottage cheese, cream cheese
- soft cheeses that use a mould for ageing like brie, camembert, etc should be avoided
- ripened goat’s milk chases and blue-veined cheeses that are not pasteurised should also be avoided as they may contain listeria, a type of pathogen. eg. Roquefort
- Raw shellfish, high mercury fish
Raw shellfish like oysters, clams, mussels, can cause food poisoning and so should be avoided. Fish like marlin, swordfish and shark can sometimes have high mercury content that can interfere with a baby’s nervous system development, thus should be avoided.