Protein is an essential nutrient for the growth of healthy little bodies. Lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs and dairy are all good sources of protein which provide the building blocks for growing muscles, skin, hair and nails. It also helps bodies repair and fight disease. Red meat such as beef and lamb, and white meat such as pork and chicken, are also great sources of iron and zinc. Iron helps to transport oxygen around the body as well as helping to boost the immune system, whilst zinc is essential for growth, and function of the nervous system. Once your toddler is enjoying solids, it is important to include some good quality lean red and white meat to satisfy their increased requirements. Without adequate protein, iron and zinc, little muscles won’t develop and children may become tired, lethargic and have poor immune systems unable to fight diseases such as colds and infections.
How Much And How Often?
Toddlers need as little as 1 serve or 65 grams of red meat, 80 grams of chicken, 100 grams of fish or 2 eggs per day (a serve can be divided into smaller toddler friendly portions and eaten throughout the day) to satisfy their requirements.
When feeding meat, it is important to start with the correct consistency. Many parents are nervous about giving chunks of meat to children for fear of choking, as young ones don’t usually have their large chewing molars which help us as adults. Toddlers should be able cope with small bite-sized pieces which they can feed themselves. Toddlers should be offered the family meal (slightly modified if spicy, fatty or salty), which can include meals such as chops, stir fry or soft meat such as corned beef and lamb shanks.