Shocking research from growingupmilkinfo.com recently revealed to me that the average British toddler is only getting 26% of their daily requirement of vitamin D from their diet. When you also take into account that vitamin D synthesis is only possible between the months of April to September in the UK and the typical “British summer”, British toddlers aren’t getting the opportunity to get this much needed vitamin from the sun either.
Vitamin D is important for growth and bone development and also helps the body to absorb calcium and a serious deficiency can cause Rickets which weakens and deforms bones and increases the risk of fractures. The Department of Health recommends that ALL toddlers receive a daily supplement of vitamins A, C and D but nearly three quarters of Mums surveyed say they don’t give them to their children.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish (such as mackerel and sardines), egg yolks, button mushrooms and liver. Funnily enough, you won’t see many toddlers sitting down to a liver dinner and fortified breakfast cereals, spreads and powdered milk (including infant formula) offer a simple and convenient solution. Two beakers (150ml) of Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk provides more than 70% of the daily toddler recommendation (the equivalent to about 4 eggs or a small tin of tuna - I know which Joseph would rather have!)
Kids Food Expert Fiona Faulkner has been working with Growingupmilkinfo.com and has come up with six tasty toddler recipes all of are rich in vitamin D. Here’s just one of them.
Twisted Macaroni Cheese
Serves 6 toddlers
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 300g dried pasta twists
- 400ml Growing Up Milk – ready-made or made up from powder
- 40g plain flour, sifted
- 40g unsalted butter
- 150g grated hard cheese – plus extra to sprinkle
- 100g frozen peas
- 100g frozen sweetcorn
- 100g cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 crust of bread
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / fan 180 / Gas Mark 6
- Get the pasta cooking as per the pack instructions.
- Place the Growing Up Milk in a medium non-stick saucepan with the flour and butter. On a medium-high heat keep stirring with a whisk. As it comes to a boil, it will thicken to a sauce. This will take 5 minutes or so – be patient and don’t stop whisking!
- Add the cheese and stir to melt. Add the peas, sweetcorn and chicken. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it off and tip into a casserole dish. Stir through the sauce.
- Tear up the crust of bread to make crumbs (or put in the food processer for a few seconds) and use to cover the pasta. Finally top it all off with the slices of tomato and any extra grated cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy and golden. Allow to cool a little before serving.
Fiona says “Firstly, I’ve used Growing Up Milk – which contains important vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and D, iron, calcium and omega 3 = to create a tasty cheese sauce that’s not only easy to make (just whisk and wait) but also adds a lovely richness of flavour. I’ve also ditched dried macaroni in favour of pasta twists – simply because I think it’s less sticky to cook and, from my experience, kids love the shape! This recipe gives you a chance to get savvy with leftovers by using chicken from the roast and the end of a crusty loaf to create something totally tasty and new! Finally, I’ve added some extra greens to this dish, plus yellows and reds, to help provide your toddler with some of their ‘five-a-day’. In fact, once it’s cooked, you could add pretty much any vegetable you fancy to this sauce. What more could you want?”