Fat is an essential part of a toddler’s diet. Since infants and toddlers are growing at a faster pace than older children yet are often likely to eat less food, a larger portion of the food they eat needs to come from calorie-dense fat. In addition to the large amount of calories fats provide, toddlers need a significant amount of healthy fat to assist with central nervous system functions and proper brain development.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, toddlers and infants under the age of 2 should receive approximately 50% of their calories in the form of fat (33% for children 2 and older).
Toddlers without food allergies usually find this fat from things like whole cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt, and peanut butter, but if your toddler is top 8 free he can’t eat any of those things!
Here are six other ways to safely provide your toddler with the fat he needs:
1. Breast Milk
Breast milk has a significantly high fat content and provides many additional health benefits to your baby as well. If you still have breast milk to feed your toddler, keep nursing him and don’t be surprised if your breasts seem smaller or less full after your baby reaches one year of age. This could be a sign that your body is automatically making the adjustments it needs to produce better quality milk for your toddler with an even higher fat content.
2. Sunflower Seed Butter
The natural oils in sunflower seeds are high in healthy fat making it not only good for you, but easy to make sunflower seed butter out of as well. Use sunflower seed butter just like peanut butter. Smother it on pancakes, make sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, add it to cookies, you name it! This stuff is delicious and kids love it!
The high content of monounsaturated fat in olives makes it an easy choice for kids who like to play with their food. If you are worried about olives being a choking hazard for your child, slice them in half before feeding them to your child.
Flax seeds contain essential fatty oils and can be eaten in many forms. You can use flax oil in your cooking, or whole flax can be eaten as a crunchy snack. Look for flax cereal at your local health food store or try sneaking ground flax into baked goods like cookies or breads. Not only will it provide essential fats for your toddler, but flax acts as a natural binder which is essential for gluten free baking.
5. Olive Oil & Canola Oil
Instead of simply eliminating the butter when you are cooking rice, stir in a little olive or canola oil instead. The same concept can be applied when cooking gluten free pasta as well.
6. Avocados and Guacamole
Avocados are naturally high in healthy fat, including omega 3 fatty acids. Add avocados to your next taco night or simply find chips prepared in olive or canola oil to dip in guacamole. Olives dipped in guacamole sound quite tasty, too!