Stay healthy with fat. In a landmark study tracking the diets of more than 3,000 children, researchers found that 75 percent of preschoolers were consuming too much saturated fat. Half of it was coming from whole or 2 percent milk. While toddlers need healthy fats to support brain development, bolster their immune systems, and process fat-soluble vitamins, saturated fat is a different story. It contains higher amounts of unhealthy cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other health problems. Consider toddler milk to help your child get calcium and vitamin D. And stick to no more than 30 percent of calories from fat (averaged over several days).
“Nutrient Intakes of US Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Meet or Exceed Dietary Reference Intakes” by Nancy F. Butte, Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2010).
“Food consumption patterns of young preschoolers: Are they starting off on the right path?” by Fox MK, J Am Diet Assoc (2010).