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Why are minerals important?

Minerals cannot be made by the body and must come from the diet. Iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus are among the most important minerals for growing children.


Iron plays a part in many processes inside the body, including carrying oxygen in the blood. Because toddlers' physical and mental development is so rapid, their need for iron is greatly increased.


Zinc is necessary for the body's hormones and enzymes to perform their functions. Zinc is also related to children's ability to grow.

Calcium and phosphorus

Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for proper bone growth. Research shows that children need to have the right amount of calcium in their diet to lessen the risk of accidental bone fractures later in life.

What quantity of minerals do toddlers need?

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for minerals have been developed by US and Canadian scientists for various life stage groups, including children. If minerals are consumed at the recommended levels, nearly all children should be able to meet their nutritional needs.

Other countries may have their own systems for recommendations.

  Daily DRI Daily DRI
Mineral Age 1-3 years Age 3-8 years
Calcium 500 mcg 800 mcg
Iron 7 mg 10 mg
Phosphorous 460 mg 500 mg
Zinc 3 mg 5 mg






How can toddlers get their minerals?

Iron-rich foods include lean red meats, turkey, eggs, lamb, and fish and seafood. Iron is also found in beans, broccoli, spinach, and dried fruit.

Zinc is found in meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products, as well as whole grains, dried beans, and nuts. Calcium is found in milk and dairy foods, broccoli, and tofu (bean curd). Phosphorus is found in dairy products, egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, and legumes.


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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. Growing up milks are formulated to meet nutrition needs of healthy young children older than 1 year and should not be fed to infants.