The ideal nutrition for toddlers

After turning one, your little hero can start eating proper meals with the rest of the family. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to toddler nutrition. Eating the same food as the grown-ups is only appropriate if Mommy and Daddy also eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Humana - Kleiner Junge als Gewichtheber

kid eating an apple

Little heroes don't always get enough nutrients

Unfortunately, little heroes don't always get all the nutrients they need for their healthy development. Independent nutritionists have found that toddlers are often not fed the right things. They often get too little alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), vitamin D, iodine and iron — on the other hand, there is often too much protein on the menu*.

*EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. (2013). EFSA Journal. 11(10):3408

Questions about nutrition? We have the answers!

  • Why shouldn't my child eat too much protein?

    Imbalances of nutrient intake in toddlers such as high protein consumption are very common.* Toddlers often consume a lot of protein through normal cow's milk. By replacing your toddler's intake of normal cow's milk with Humana Junior Drink, the amount of protein your toddler consumes can be reduced.

    *EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. (2013). EFSA Journal. 11(10):3408.

  • Why are calcium and vitamin D so important?

    Vitamin D and calcium are important for the normal development of bones. However, investigations showed that toddlers often have too little vitamin D in their blood.*

    *Braegger C, Campoy C, Colomb V, Decsi T, Domellof M, Fewtrell M, Hojsak I, Mihatsch W, Molgaard C, Shamir R, Turck D, and van Goudoever J on behalf of the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. Vitamin D in the healthy European paediatric population. (2013). Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 56(6):692-701.

  • Why is vitamin A essential in a healthy diet?

    Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins and is involved in vision and cellular growth. Furthermore, it is important for the body's immune response. Vitamin A makes your child less susceptible to infections because it protects the skin and mucous membranes, thus strengthening the body's barrier against germs and viruses. At the same time, it promotes the activity of white blood cells and the production of antibodies.* In short: vitamin A supports the immune system and is therefore essential in nutrition for little heroes.

    * EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products (2013). Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. EFSA J 11(10): 3408.
    European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for vitamin A. (2015c). EFSA Journal. 13(3):4028.

  • What role does alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) play in brain and nerv

    All the new experiences that your little hero has in the first few years make their brain and nerve cells go full throttle. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) plays an important role in this. ALA isn't only an important building block of cell membranes, it is also the precursor to many essential fatty acids and signalling substances, which are vital for the development of children's immune systems. Therefore, ALA is an essential element of a healthy diet.* Since the body cannot produce its own ALA, the fatty acid has to come from dietary sources.

    * European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae. EFSA Journal 2014;12(7):3760.

  • How do I make sure my child is getting enough iron?

    In order to prevent iron deficiency, you should not give your child normal milk before the end of their first year — and the amount for toddlers should be limited to one or two cups a day. Normal cow's milk isn't only very low in iron, drinking too much can even hinder the absorption of iron and lead to iron deficiency.* Be sure not to give your toddler more than 500ml of milk or dairy products per day.**

    *Ziegler EE (2011). Consumption of cow's milk as a cause of iron deficiency in infants and toddlers. Nutrition Reviews, 69(Suppl1):37–42.

    Suthuvoravut U, Abiodun P, Chomtho S, Chongviriyaphan N, Cruchet S, Davies P et al (2015). Composition of follow-up formula for young children aged 12–36months: Recommendations of an international expert group coordinated by the nutrition association of Thailand and the early nutrition Academy. Ann Nutr Metab 67(2):119–132.

    ** Alexy U, Hilbig A (2016): Update Säuglingsernährung. Ernährungsumschau Jg. 63 (12): M716-723.

  • Why is it necessary to prevent iodine deficiency in toddlers?

    Iodine is essential to the thyroid gland, which in turn influences a number of processes in the body such as cognitive development and metabolism. Consequently, iodine deficiency in toddlers may lower their cognitive and motoric capabilities. Therefore, an adequate iodine supply is crucial during this stage of life.* Official nationwide studies show, however, that about half of the children in Germany under two years old have too little iodine in their bodies.**

    * World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Vitamin and mineral requirements in human nutrition. (2004). Available at:

    ** Thamm M, Ellert U, Thierfelder W, Liesenkotter KP, Volzke H (2007). Iodine intake in Germany. Results of iodine monitoring in the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). Federal Health Bulletin-Health Research-Health and Safety 50:744–749.

What do toddlers need for a well-balanced diet?

Because of their rapid growth, toddlers have very high and specific nutritional needs. The following recommendations can help you to nourish your little hero in a balanced, age-appropriate manner during this important developmental phase:* 

*Source: Alexy U, Clausen K, Kersting M (2008): Die Ernährung gesunder Kinder und Jugendlicher nach dem Konzept der Optimierten Mischkost. Ernährungsumschau , 55. Jg. Band 3, 168-177.

Tip: Do not feed your child meat every day, instead alternate between the different protein-rich foods.

baby sitting in the middle of the fields

Simple, delicious recipes for big and small

Does your little hero enjoy trying new things? We have put together a few recipes for you that can be easily prepared, for example, with Humana Junior Drinks. All of our recipes are prepared without sugar so that your little sunshine can snack on them to their heart's content. And best of all: it's not only tasty for your little hero, but for the whole family.

Have fun cooking!

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