Pay more attention to your infant or toddler’s nutritional needs in winter

Published on: 4 December 2021, 12:30 pm IST

The winter season is here, and that means your infant or toddler’s nutritional requirements are likely to change. Here’s what to add to their diet.

Gurpreet Kaur
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infant and toddler
Add the goodness of winter fruits and veggies to your kid's diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The temperature has plummeted, and winter is here! It is the time to bring out room heaters, warm clothes, and geysers to face the chills. But these external factors only work better if our immune system is strong enough to handle the cold winter. Preparing for this time of the month should be your topmost concern when you have little children. Kids are more prone to illnesses such as sore throat, common cold, flu, pneumonia, skin problems and asthma during the winter season. Therefore, it is mandatory to offer them a balanced and nutritious diet, keep them hydrated and well-rested to prevent them from falling sick.

As we start introducing babies to solid foods, they enjoy eating new and different food textures.Moreover, for toddlers, it is the time you need to be more creative to get them to eat food that is good for their health.

Boost your infant’s or toddler’s immune system by incorporating these superfoods:

1. Carrots

These are rich in beta-carotene, and help in maintaining a healthy eyesight. During the winter season, these veggies help in boosting white blood cells, and these WBCs aid in improving the immune system. They protect your child’s body against many viral infections

Suggested healthy options

For infants: Carrot puree combined with your kid’s other favorite purees can be given. One teaspoon of ghee can be added for good absorption. Different shapes of boiled carrots can be given to infants above eight months.
For toddlers: Carrot juice, carrot halwa, carrot as salad

2. Spinach and other leafy vegetables

These green leafy vegetables are fully loaded with vitamin A, C, folate and lutein. These veggies are packed with dietary fibre, which keeps your child’s digestive system clean and prevents constipation, a common problem seen in infants and toddlers.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Purees or mashed green leafy vegetables can be given to infants below the age of one.
For toddlers: Spinach spread or sandwich, pureed spinach with cottage cheese etc

phytonutrients
Make sure your child’s plate is full of colours! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Eggs

A single egg contains all the essential amino acids that are required in the body. It doesn’t just fulfill the protein requirement, but also other nutrient requirements that constitute a healthy diet during the winter season.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Egg yolks in the form of purees, or which can be added to soup and given to infants above 7 months.
For toddlers: Boiled eggs, omelet, egg spreads and sandwiches

4. Dates

Besides being sweet and yummy to taste, dates have many health benefits. These are rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron and potassium. It also keeps your child’s body warm.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Dates can be added to any fruit or vegetable puree to make the dish more tasty;
For toddlers: You can give it whole as a snack, make laddoos, add to pancakes or smoothies.

5. Oranges:

Oranges are most loved by children. They are widely available during the winter season, and being a seasonal fruit, come packed with antioxidants that help in maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also rich in vitamin C and fibre.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Diluted orange juice (50% percent + 50 percent orange juice)
For toddlers: whole orange as a fruit, orange juice in breakfast
* It is recommended to have orange juice early in the morning (with pulp).

6. Beetroot

It contains antioxidants and vitamins A,B,C,K and folate. If your kids already have a sweet tooth, chances are they will love beet! Beetroots are naturally sweet and much more nutritious than many sugar-laden processed foods.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Beetroot puree mixed with any fruit or vegetable puree, or add beetroot to vegetable clear soup ( 1 teaspoon of ghee can be added for good absorption)
For toddlers: Beetroot as salad, beetroot raita, beetroot muffins, beetroot smoothies and beet tikkis.

kanji
A glass of beetroot smoothies can be a great source of nutrition for your toddler. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Vitamin D

It is hard to get this sunshine vitamin, owing to the limited sun exposure during the winter season. This vitamin facilitates calcium absorption and it is important to introduce foods that are rich in it to your child’s diet. Vegetarian fortified sources such as milk and cheese are fair sources. Egg, yolks, mushrooms, certain sea fish and liver contain decent quantities of vitamin D.

Suggested healthy options:

For infants: Egg yolks in the form of purees or when added in soup can be given to infants above 7 months.
For toddlers: Fish, egg omelet sandwich, milk and cheese

Gurpreet Kaur Gurpreet Kaur

Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh