One of the essential trace minerals for good health is Iodine. According to the recent survey upto 2 billion people worldwide are suffering from iodine deficiency disorders including 285 million children of school going age. Iodine is required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones which is important to carry out many body processes including growth and brain development of a fetus during pregnancy.

Daily Iodine requirement

As mentioned earlier iodine is required for the synthesis of thyroid glands. Approximately 50 mcg of iodine is required by the thyroid glands for the synthesis of thyroxine . The recommended dietary allowance for iodine according to WHO is;

  • Infants and children up to 5 years : 90 mcg
  • Children 6-12 years 120 mcg
  • Children over 12 years and adults: 150 mcg
  • Pregnancy and lactation : 250 mcg

The requirement of iodine is higher in pregnant women due to increased thyroxine production. The deficiency of iodine in mothers can lead to miscarriages, still birth, preterm delivery , intellectual and congenital disabilities in children.

Iodine deficiency disorders

Iodine deficiency is most common in developing countries. Introduction of iodized salt in diet has vastly reduces the deficiency symptoms , however it has been estimated that approximately 40% of the world is still at risk of developing iodine deficiency. Extremely low iodine intakes for longer period of time are associated with the development of goitre which is characterised by an enlargement of thyroid glands that are visible in the neck. Hypothyroidism is another autoimmune disorder which occurs as a result of taking too much or too little iodine.

Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy results in cretinism in infants, which results in mental deficiency, shuffling gait, shortened stature, and hypothyroidism. Less severe iodine deficiency could lead to moderate mental retardation and poorer iq levels.

Sources of iodine

Iodine is naturally present in soil and sea water. Sea foods are naturally rich in iodine . Salt water fish contains 300-3000 microgram of iodine per kg of flesh. Common sources of dietary iodine include:

  • Iodized salt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Shrimps
  • Salt water fish
  • Chedder cheese


Taking too much iodine through medications, radiology procedures or diet results in developing hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Feeding your toddlers

The period from one year to three years is the period of rapid growth. They are learning to cope in the new environment. They are not baby anymore, they are trying new tastes,learning to walk and talk. Balanced diet is extremely important for toddlers as they are more at risk of developing nutrient deficiencies as soon as they switch from breast milk to cows milk.

Balanced diet for toddlers

The preferences and likes and dislikes of every child is different. At this stage it is important for mothers to introduce variety of food to child as they develop personal likes and dislikes which can affect their eating patterns later in life. Balanced diet is a key to healthy toddlers. Below are some essential points to remember in order to provide balanced meals to your little ones.

  • caloric requirements

The caloric requirements of toddlers vary according to the height, age, sex and physical activities. Generally children require between 1000-1400 calories in a day, with three large meals and two snacks between the meals and about 6-8 drinks of 150 ml.

  • Milk and dairy products

Breast feeding is essential for toddlers up to two years of age as it prevent iron deficiency in young children. In other cases Two to three servings of milk are extremely important as it contains calcium and vitamin D needed for healthy and strong bones. The toddlers requires 700 mg of calcium which is present in two glass of milk. In some countries where there is not sufficient sunlight or children in asian countries , children who are not on breast milk additional vitamin D supplements are needed to meet the daily requirement of vitamin D. Full fat milk is recommended for children under five.

In some cases children have issues with drinking milk after moving from breast and bottle to cups, it is essential to give other dairy products like yoghurts, porridge and cereals with milk and cheese to children in order to ensure sufficient calcium intake.

  • Wholegrain and cereals

Toddlers need four to five toddler size servings of breads and cereals per day. Half of which should be wholegrain. Oatmeal, porridge , bread, chapatti, boiled rice, and potatoes are examples. These starch provides toddlers with energy along with B vitamins needed to toddlers. Wholegrain provides fiber and essential nutrients needed and prevent constipation which is common in toddlers but should be introduced gradually as it increases bulk in foods and toddlers sometime eat less.

  • Fruits and vegetables

Aim to provide at least five portion of fruits and vegetables daily. Offer vegetables in meal times and fruits as a snack. Vegetables should be thoroughly cooked in order to avoid choking hazard. A small cup of bite sized mixed fruits can be given as snack and may look appealing and colourful to children.

  • Meats and high protein foods

Toddlers when switched from breast or formula milk to cows milk are more prone to iron deficiency anaemia . Iron is essential for optimal growth and brain development. For this it is advisable for mothers to give at least two servings of meat, and other proteins sources. Examples of high protein foods are

  • Minced meat
  • Lean cut meat
  • Pulses and legumes
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Nuts

Foods to be used in moderation

Below are some foods which should be used in moderation or only as a treat.

  • Toddlers due to slight sweet taste of breast milk are more attracted toward sugars , but eating large amount of sugars may decrease their appetite and causes tooth decay and obesity .
  • High fat foods such as biscuits, cakes and bakery as they are high in calories and have little nutritional value and increases the risk of toddlers to become overweight.
  • High salt foods such as crisps and processed foods should be completely avoided or should be given only in small amounts once in a while.
  • Peanut allergy is one of the most common type of food allergies in toddlers. Symptoms of peanut allergy are rash and swelling around mouth, nose and lips, running nose and irritability. Try to avoid giving foods containing peanuts to toddlers.

Fish as a food

Dietician daily

Fish is one of the most nutritious food available to mankind since prehistoric times. It is a high protein and low fat nutrient dense food which provides number of health benefits if regularly consumed. Fish is rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as several minerals and vitamin including iodine , potassium, vitamin D and selenium.

Nutritional composition of fish

The nutritional value of fish vary according to location where it is harvested, the type of water, type of feed given, the cut and on the fish type . It also depends on the way it is cooked. The general overview of fish nutrition is given below;


Fish is a low calorie protein source, one serving of three ounce low fat fish such as cod contains less than 100 calories and high fat fish such as salmon, herring contains about 200 calories per three ounce.



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Healthy Breakfast

Eating a balanced diet throughout a day is extremely important, especially starting your day with a healthy meal. One of the most important meal breakfast is widely ignored by large number of population due to lack of time and lack of interest in preparing meal immediately after getting up.

Breakfast helps to provides you with the energy needed to kickstart your daily routine. It has been observed that people who eat breakfast regularly are more active both physically and mentally and are less overweight as breakfast prevents hunger attacks at odd times and prevent from overeating junk and snacks. Breakfast helps to improve concentration and mood. Studies reveal that children who eat regular breakfast before coming to school are more active and have better concentration both in studies and extracurricular activities.

What is healthy breakfast?

A healthy breakfast provide you with one fourth of your daily nutrients requirements and contains one or more of the four basic food groups. Below are some basic tips to remember while preparing a healthy breakfast for individual and family needs.

  • Prefer wholegrain cereals in order to ensure optimum fiber intake . Wholegrain instant cereals are easy to prepare and are sometimes fortified with vitamins and minerals which contributes to your daily micronutrients requirements.
  • Avoid adding sugars in tea, coffee, milk and cereals.
  • Many people prefer white breads, muffins, buns , scones and other bakery products in the breakfast because of their taste and easy availability . These bakery products are full of refines carbohydrates, sugars and trans fatty acids which ultimately contributes to obesity, and other metabolic disorders. Try to limit these foods in breakfast. Read food labels carefully in order to have a clear picture of the hidden sugar and fat content in ready to eat cereals.
  • A serving of fresh fruits and vegetables or a hand full of nuts at the start of your day provides you with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which boost your immune system and prevent from diseases.
  • 1 cup of low fat milk, yogurt or 2oz of cheese in breakfast provide you with proteins calcium, Phosphorus and vitamin B12. Calcium and phosphorus is needed for heathy bones. 1 cup of milk in breakfast provides you with 28% of your daily calcium and 18% of your daily phosphorus requirement.
  • Non dairy sources of protein such as eggs, lean cut meats and fish provides you with iron , proteins, vitamin b12 and folate and is extremely beneficial for school going children and individuals who are involved in extremely strenuous physical or mental activities.

Examples of healthy breakfast

  1. Wholewheat slice, boiled or poached egg, one fruit and a cup of low fat milk.
  2. Oatmeal ,porridge oats, or ready to eat unsweetened wholegrain cereals with low fat milk topped with nuts and fruits.
  3. Fruit smoothies with one fruit and low fat yogurt and toast topped with a thin layer of butter or coconut oil.
  4. A traditional chapatti or flat bread either stuffed with vegetables or with vegetables curry and yogurt.
  5. Mixed vegetables and mushrooms omelette with toast when you have a plenty of time especially on weekends and holidays.

Nutritional management in Heartburn

Heart burn is one of the most common problem usually occurs as result of gastric acid reflux into the oesophagus. Oesophagus is the muscular food pipe that connects mouth with stomach. Heartburn is characterised by the waves of burning feeling moving from the chest towards the mouth.

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn normally occurs as result of ingestion of irritating agents which contributes to excessive acid production. Other factors which also causes acid reflux into the oesophagus includes

  • Viral inflammation
  • Oesophageal Ulcers
  • Excessive use of over the counter medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and oral contraceptives.
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Acidic, spicy and high fat foods soon before resting
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Obesity


Heartburn is a symptom of Gastro oesophageal reflux disease and normally involves a sharp burning pain behind the breastbone. Several times heartburn is commonly confused with the pain of heart attack. Other common symptoms associated with heartburn are

  • Sour taste and dry mouth
  • Bloating and burping
  • Bad breath
  • Pain and swelling in the mouth
  • Nausea


The treatment of heartburn involves lifestyle modifications along with diet management and medications.

Lifestyle modification

  • Eat at least three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid excessive smoking.
  • Limit caffeinated beverages
  • Avoid tight fitting garment
  • Avoid lying down immediately after meals.

Diet management

The main objective of dietary management in heartburn is to prevent pain and irritability caused by acid reflux and to decrease acid secretion . Following are some tips for diet modifications;

  • Avoid spicy food and Acidic foods as they causes pain and irritation .
  • Avoid dietary fats especially before going to bed
  • Avoid caffeine hot drinks and beverages.
  • Avoid eating large portions as it increases acid production.

Below is the list of foods which one should avoid and consume in order to prevent heartburn.