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Wholesome breakfast for a toddler

Clichéd as this may sound; there is no denying that, breakfast is the most vital meal of the day. Breakfast is associated with better nourishment.1 Also, it is linked to improved cognitive function and academic performance in children.2

It is therefore, crucial that your toddler who is a bundle of energy has a nutritious start to his day. Healthy, balanced and tasty too, that is how a perfect breakfast needs to be. Well by now, it sure sounds like a herculean task. But rest easy, here’s a lowdown that will help you.

Breakfast ideas can range from a vegetable sandwich to fruit smoothies, but it is essential to include foods from the following groups:

The energy supplier: Your high-energy toddler needs ample energy for activity and growth. This is supplied by carbohydrates. Cereals are the main sources of carbohydrates. The desirable kinds of carbs come primarily from whole grains.

Recommended foods: Paratha, idli, dosa, multigrain bread, poha, upma,pancakes or our very own desi “cheelas”, etc.

The protein providers: Proteins are needed for every bodily process - from hair and muscles to enzymes and hormones, everything requires protein. Include anything from meat, fish, chicken, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs in your toddler’s breakfast as these are considered as complete proteins. Eggs, especially, are an excellent source of protein. Also, whole grains, nuts, seeds, dals and pulses combined with a serving of rice or roti can be a good protein source.

Recommended foods: Idlis, dosa, moong pancakes, dal parathas, pongal, cheese parathas, soya or paneer scrambles on toast, egg sandwiches, etc.

The Micronutrient marker: Fresh fruits or vegetables are another essential component of your child’s breakfast. Including some kind of fresh fruit, ensures supply of micronutrients which are very essential for the growing body. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber along with many other nutrients.

Recommended foods: Cubes of apple, pears, papaya or chickoo and carrots or cucumber fingers can be easily included in the meal. A smoothie made with milk and fruit served in a sippy cup can fulfill the criteria.

 

KEEP IN MIND: • The toddlers serving size is about ¼ th that of the adult’s. Think small portions and avoid forcing your child. • Make sure you steer clear of any sugary offerings for breakfast. • Make sure you stick to fresh ingredients and avoid pre packaged and preserved foods.

 


References


1.Editorial. Breakfast Benefits Children in the US and Abroad. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1998; 17(1):4–6.

2.2. Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr Res Rev. 2009; 22(2):220-43.