The fundamentals of toddler development should be in the back of every new parent’s mind. It is important to track your own child’s development in comparison with the more general, statistical timelines for early childhood growth. And one of the most important factors which plays into how efficiently your child can meet these milestones is your toddler’s nutrition.

It should not be surprising that nutrition is the cornerstone of the successful mental and physical development of your toddler. Proper nutrition is essential for everyone to flourish. There are a number of key ways in which nutrition assists or, in fact, drives toddler development. This is certainly not a topic that you should ignore as a new parent. If you are unfamiliar with basic nutritional principles, let alone toddler nutritional principles, you should familiarise yourself with them for the benefit of your child.

Let’s take a closer look at the huge role that nutrition plays in your toddler’s development.

What Does A Growing Toddler Need?

Just like all other human beings, toddlers require a mix of all essential macronutrients including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If your toddler is already eating solid food, be sure to include a variety of vegetables and protein sources in your meal plans. Toddlers also require above-average amounts of certain vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, iron, and calcium. Fibre also becomes important at this age to facilitate digestion.

Ensuring that your toddler has these substances in his or her diet will go a long way towards keeping them moving along a consistent developmental track. Solid and adequate nutrition during the toddler years will allow for positive brain and body development, as during this time your child will grow more rapidly than at any other time in life.

Nutrition is also essential for the behavioural and cognitive development of your toddler. If you are providing for an adequate intake of essentials, you should notice that your toddler continues to develop a sense of independence and autonomy, an interest in social interaction, and will even soon be able to feed independently.

Toddlers With Unique Needs

There are many circumstances when nutritional intake must be adjusted or modified to cater to the unique needs of some toddlers. For example, some toddlers will begin to show signs of food allergies such as lactose or gluten intolerance. Pickiness may also begin to vocally manifest itself during these years. This is not necessarily a cause for alarm as your toddler’s diet can be modified to ensure healthy development while avoiding digestive upset.

Look into supplementation or alternative meal plan ideas in these cases. Toddlers can develop properly under a wide range of dietary regimens such as a properly informed vegan or vegetarian diet.

Developmental Stages Can Vary

It is worth noting that the developmental milestones set out by medical organisations are only a general guideline. Parents should keep in mind that there is a range of time in which toddlers will begin to demonstrate certain behaviours and should not be too wrapped up in checking off the development stage boxes. Even with the best nutrition, it is completely normal to be slower at showing some behaviours while manifesting others sooner.

As with anything regarding your toddler’s well-being, be sure to consult with a family physician if you have any additional questions or concerns about your toddler’s nutrition and how it pertains to their development.

Nutrition Is Vital To Toddler Development

Now you have a solid foundation on which to delve into some further research into the nutritional needs of your child. Continuing to monitor developmental milestones while adapting your child’s diet to these different stages will give your toddler the best shot at a healthy and happy life.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "The Important Role Nutrition Plays In Toddler Development," in Medicalopedia, April 2, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7380/nutrition-role-in-toddler-development/].