This post originally appeared on happyfamilybrands.com and is written by Angela Nolan, RD, LDN, CBS
When it comes to feeding your child, it’s important to provide nutrient-dense foods that will fuel his body with the nutrition he needs to support proper growth and development. Not only is yogurt nutritious, it’s also delicious! Toddlers often love the smooth, creamy texture and flavor of yogurt, so it’s a win-win for parents and kids alike.
If you’ve ever stumbled upon the supermarket shelves dedicated to “kid’s yogurts” you’ve likely noticed that not all tot-friendly yogurts are created equal. Many of these options contain added sugar and other additives. With the overwhelming number of options available today, how are you to know what’s best for your child? Here’s how: choose a whole milk based yogurt with no added sugar. This way, your child gets the nutrients without any of the undesirable extras (think added sugars!)
Here are some reasons why yogurt is an excellent addition to your toddler’s diet:
- It contains protein. Toddlers need a healthy dose of protein to facilitate normal growth and development, including having a critical role in brain and immune function. Their protein needs are higher per pound of body weight than adults! This shows just how vital the role of protein is for kids this age! Providing quality sources of protein, like yogurt, will help them thrive.
- It contains calcium. During toddlerhood, it’s prime time for strengthening bones and teeth. Calcium is a key nutrient in doing so, and yogurt is a fantastic way to help meet your child’s daily calcium requirements. The benefits don’t stop there, getting enough calcium is also important in nerve and muscle function, too!
- Many yogurts have been enriched with Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals, such as Calcium, and is also important in building strong bones and teeth. Including Vitamin D rich foods, like yogurt, in your child’s diet can help prevent Rickets and support the long-term health and development of his bones and teeth.
- It contains live and active cultures. These cultures help digest the lactose and protein in milk.
- It’s versatile. Although yogurt is quite delicious on its own, there are many other ways to enjoy it, too! It can be used to make healthier dips, muffins, popsicles, parfaits, and even pancakes! Check out some of our recipes for meal inspirations!