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The Importance of Fats for Children

Fat is an essential component of your toddler’s diet.  Fat is crucial for maintaining energy and supporting proper growth.  It also supports the development of the brain and nervous system. Fat also aids in wound healing and the absorbing of nutrients such as the fat soluble vitamins.
Around two thirds of your child’s brain is made up of fat. It is therefore very important for your child to receive an adequate amount of healthy fat to feed the brain and body.  Restricting your child’s healthy fat consumption may negatively impact the growth and development of your child’s brain.

Different Types of Fat

There are different types of fat such as saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat.

  •  Saturated Fat.  These fats are generally solid at room temperature.  They are natural fats from animal or plant sources such as butter, fatty cuts of meat, skin from poultry, cheese.  
  •  Unsaturated Fat.  These fats are usually liquid at room temperature.  There are two main types of unsaturated fat.

Unsaturated fats are shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

  •  Polyusaturated such as fish, nuts, seeds;
  •  Monounsaturated such as olive oil, avocado, coconut oil.
  • Trans fats are rare in nature and are created mainly by the processing of other types of naturally found fats.  It is the process of partial hydrogenation.  These fats are the most unhealthy to eat and can damage cells.

 Food Sources

At this stage of their life, a vast majority of their food intake should include healthy fats.  Some food sources include:

  •     Avocado
  •     Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon
  •     Full fat dairy products (preferably organic)
  •     Meat
  •     Poultry


Fatty foods that don’t supply nutrients are best avoided.  These include cakes, cookies, chocolate, crisps and other processed foods.  Offer your child a variety of healthy fats along with other healthy food choices. 

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  Children’s Health