There are few things Kiwis wish to liken with our cousins across the ditch, but a recent published study out of Australia has shown our toddlers are not the only ones who aren’t eating enough iron-rich red meat.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology published a study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health which looked at the eating patterns of toddlers aged 12 – 16 months, which revealed one in five were not getting any meat in their daily diets compromising iron levels. Of those who did eat some, half ate less than 30g of meat or meat alternatives per day – under the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended amount.
In New Zealand, research has highlighted eight out of 10 toddlers don’t meet the recommended daily intake of dietary iron and 14% of children under the age of 2 are iron deficient.
Fiona Greig, Nutrition Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand comments on the implications of iron deficiency in young ones. “Dietary iron is an essential mineral required for normal growth, development and cognitive function in young children. As toddlers are picky eaters, nutrient dense foods are crucial at this critical time. ”
“As this study highlights, many toddlers are filling up on too much milk or formula, which are often coined as ‘milkaholics’, filling up their little tummies and leaving little room for a diverse range of foods including those rich in iron” says Greig.
At a time where life is hectic, the researchers acknowledged parents need suggestions for healthy foods while considering cost, preparation and practicalities of life with a toddler.
The New Zealand Food and Nutrition Guidelines for children aged 0-2 years recommends toddlers eat a variety of nutritious foods from each of the four food groups: vegetables and fruit; breads and cereals; milk and milk products