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Toddler nutrition: Hollywood pediatrician weighs in about toddler needs

Parents can offer healthy food choices, fortified milk supplements and a multivitamin to help their toddlers receive the proper nutrition
Parents can offer healthy food choices, fortified milk supplements and a multivitamin to help their toddlers receive the proper nutrition
Sandy Wallace

Getting toddlers to eat healthy, nutritious food can be a challenge. Toddlers are busy and active from the time they climb out of bed in the morning until the time you finally get them in bed at night.

Toddlers need balanced nutrition for their bodies to grow properly, but it's not always easy to get toddlers to eat what they should
Sandy Wallace

Many toddlers love to eat foods like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, french fries and macaroni and cheese. Although these favorites will fill your toddler up, they are missing an important nutrient toddlers need.

Examiner spoke with Dr. Scott Cohen, practicing pediatrician and bestselling author of the book: "Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby's First Year" about what toddlers need to maximize healthy brain development.

Since 85 percent of brain growth happens within the first three years of a child's life, a well-balanced diet with proper nutrition is extremely important for healthy brain growth and development.

Experts recommend that toddlers have 70 to 100 mg of DHA daily to support early brain development. DHA is found in foods such as canned tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, smoked oysters, mackerel, herring, blue crab and cod liver oil.

In addition to supporting brain development, DHA also supports eye development, visual acuity and a healthy heart. Yet, on average, a toddler’s daily diet only provides 25 percent of the recommended amount of DHA, leaving a nutritional gap. Cohen says, "As a parent, try not to stress out" about what your toddler eats.

You've probably been giving your toddler DHA without even knowing it. DHA is found naturally in breast milk. Many brands of formula are also fortified with DHA.

When you feed your child Enfagrow Toddler Transitions, you nourish the development that helps your child reach milestones. Enfagrow Toddler Transitions is complete nutrition for toddlers 9-12 months and complements the diet for toddlers 12-18 months.

In addition to DHA, Enfagrow also provides choline and iron to help support your toddler’s brain development, Calcium, vitamin D and 28 other nutrients for growth and a Natural Defense Dual Prebiotics blend, designed to help support digestive health

Cohen says, "Keeping healthy eating habits at home is really important." Offering your toddler healthy food choices, providing a milk supplement and giving your toddler a multivitamin are all ways parents can help toddlers fill the nutritional gap.

According to Cohen, "Toddlers don't really have a turn-off switch" when it comes to eating the foods they love. "Moderation is very important," and it's up to parents to provide the moderation by offering complimentary foods.

Parents can continue to teach their toddlers healthy eating habits and provide a variety of foods of different colors and shapes. If your toddler pushes away the foods you offer, Cohen says, "keep trying."

By modeling healthy eating habits, offering your toddler nutritious food choices and providing supplements to fill the nutrition gap, you can help your toddler develop into a healthy, active adult.