Unhealthy Food for Toddlers
Your toddler needs plenty of nutritious foods to support healthy development. A diet filled with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy and whole grains supports your toddler's development. If your toddler eats foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat instead, he might be lacking in the essential vitamins and minerals he needs to grow. Make unhealthy foods an occasional treat instead of a regular part of your toddler's diet.
Your toddler can eat the occasional treat without harming his otherwise healthy diet, but too many sweets is unhealthy. Foods that contain a lot of sugar usually contain too many calories and don't offer beneficial nutrients. If your toddler eats too much sugar on a regular basis, his risk of unhealthy weight gain and tooth decay increases. Limit your toddler's consumption of cookies, candy, cake, flavored fruit drinks and ice cream to keep his sugar intake in check. Don't offer your toddler soda either. It is high in sugar and calories and doesn't supply any valuable nutrients.
Your toddler needs a certain amount of fat to support healthy growth, but too much saturated fat can lead to unhealthy weight gain, high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. Hot dogs, chicken nuggets, french fries, potato chips, commercial baked goods and full-fat dairy foods are among the most common toddler foods that contain unhealthy amounts of saturated fat. Fast food is also a significant source of saturated fat in many toddler's diets.
Sodium is present in many processed and packaged foods, making it likely that your toddler eats too much salt if these are a regular part of his diet. Many salty foods, such as potato chips, crackers and hot dogs, are also high in calories and low in vitamins and minerals. Your toddler gets all of the sodium he needs from a healthy diet, so adding sodium to his diet is unnecessary. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and might increase your toddler's lifetime risk of kidney disease and stroke.
Allow your toddler a sweet treat once a week to satisfy his desire for dessert while keeping his sugar intake low. Offer fresh fruit as a nutritious alternative to sugary foods. Fruit is naturally sweet and might satisfy your toddler's craving for sugar. Provide foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats because your toddler needs them for proper growth. Serve your toddler salmon, avocados, peanut butter and nuts in place of foods high in saturated fat. Cook your toddler's foods in canola or olive oil as well to reduce his saturated fat intake. Don't salt your toddler's foods when you cook them and offer fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to keep his sodium intake low. Limit his consumption of fast food as well.
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