Experts recommend that a healthy balanced toddler diet should include three portions of dairy each day. Dairy foods like cows’ milk, cheese or whole yoghurt contain energy-dense fat, so in just small amounts suited to your toddler’s little tummy, dairy foods can provide plenty of the calories they need. The fat content of dairy is also important because it helps your toddler to absorb vitamin D, A and E.
Dairy foods also contain protein but are most well known as an important source of calcium, a mineral that supports the strong growth of bones and teeth. There are other sources of calcium in the diet including tinned fish and some dark green vegetables but because of the fat content and important fat-soluble vitamins, nutritionists recommend dairy as the best option for toddlers.
The most rapid period of bone growth is during the first three years of life and it can be surprising to learn that the average toddler will only have until his mid-twenties to reach peak bone density. Although it can be hard to think that far in the future, it is important to encourage toddlers to get into the daily dairy habit early on so they can reap the long-term health benefits.