Benefits of Zinc & Zinc Rich Foods For Toddlers

Zinc, a micro-nutrient though required in small amounts on a daily basis, plays an important role in proper functioning of our immune system and overall health. In addition, studies indicate that Zinc deficiency, ranked as a fifth leading risk factor in causing disease worldwide, also causes growth impediments. Moreover, it can also cause increased risk of infection in children. Including zinc rich foods for toddlers is a great way to ensure good immunity in kids, as zinc supports appropriate growth and development.

Zinc also plays an important role in maintaining normal immunity. Above all it is needed for wound healing and reduces duration of diarrhoeal illness. Apart from this, Zinc helps in normal growth as well as development of reproductive organs and low levels of zinc are associated with numerous infections and illnesses.

Although, good sources of Zinc include red meat, poultry, sea foods like oysters, there are zinc rich foods for vegetarians too. Beans, nuts, whole grains, dairy products, mushrooms, potatoes with skin are good sources of zinc. 

For instance, here are the age-wise recommended dosage of Zinc:

0-6 month- 2 mg/ day
7-36 month- 3 mg/ day
4-8 years- 5 mg/day
9-13 years- 8 mg/ day
14-18 years- 9-11 mg / day

However, adults can meet their daily Zinc requirement as they eat a variety of foods, wondering which zinc rich foods to provide kids to ensure good zinc intake may be a challenge.

Here is an easy list of Zinc rich foods for toddlers:


Just like chickpeas, lentils contain good amounts of zinc. Try making interesting meals with lentils. Healthy soups, tasty salads by pairing with beetroot and carrots, lentil curry, lentil tikkis are a good idea. Moreover, lentils can be a good source of zinc for vegans.


Nuts like cashews, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, peanuts are a great source of Zinc. Add some walnuts & pine nuts to homemade salads or make delicious peanut chikki/ladoos as snacks for kids. Almonds can be added to smoothies and make interesting nut bites with cashews, oats & dates. Roasted nuts make a delicious snack too. Do check for any nut allergy beforehand.


Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds are all good sources of Zinc. Make sweet tilgul (sesame & jaggery) ladoos or tahini (paste made with sesame seeds) as a dip. Top of seeds on homemade breads or muffins for added flavour.


Chickpeas have appreciable contents of Zinc, dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese and other nutrients. Hummus, a Levantine and Egyptian food dip popular throughout Middle East and North Africa is a great way to enjoy chickpeas. For an easy recipe to make hummus, click here. Make an easy salad with chickpeas, tomatoes and onions or a non spicy chickpea curry to make an interesting meal.

Rajma (Kidney Beans)

Kidney beans are a good source of protein, fiber, zinc and other micro nutrients.

Make delicious rajma tikkis with cooked rajma, potatoes, ginger garlic paste and choice of spices. Serve them as a midday snack or arrange them on wheat burger breads with tomato slices to make a burger. For an easy & delicious rajma soup recipe, click here



Spinach popularly known as Palak in Indian kitchens is one of the most versatile leafy vegetable. A powerhouse of nutrients, spinach is high in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.

Here are six easy ways to add spinach to your diet.


Mushrooms especially the shiitake variety are a good source of zinc. Make stir fry mushrooms with garlic as an interesting side dish for meals. Similarly, serve some mushroom pea curry in cashew nut curry for dinner. Mushroom brown rice can make for a wholesome meal too!

Brown Rice

Indians are primarily rice eaters. Brown rice compared to white rice is considered more nutritious and is a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorous, vitamin B 3 and zinc.

Make delicious stir fried brown rice with seasonal greens or an Indian style khichadi. You can even add some brown rice to parboiled rice to make dosa batter, brown rice kheer and more.


In addition to being rich source of calcium, yogurt is a good source of zinc. Adding low fat yogurt to your kids diet is a great way to meet their daily zinc requirements. Make smoothies with yogurt or dress your salads with an interesting Greek yogurt dressing. One can also make flavorful lassi with yogurt and seasonal fruits.


Quinoa, as most may think, is not a grain but an edible seed from the quinoa crop. Native to South America, it is known as the “mother grain” by the Bolivians. A staple food of the South Americans, quinoa which is gluten free and high on protein and a good source of zinc.

Similarly, for ideas to include quinoa in your diet, do read this article