Feeding Guidelines for Toddlers
Posted on June 05 2019
Feeding Guidelines for Toddlers
Food and proper nourishment for one's baby is always the top priority on every parent’s mind. When I had my first baby, I researched endlessly to understand the food requirements of my toddler and create the perfect diet plan for her. The first year is relatively smooth-sailing, because baby's diet comprises of mother’s milk/formula, which is wholesome for baby's growth.
Once you shift your baby’s diet from mother’s milk/formula to other supplements is when concerns arise. Your baby is now growing faster than ever, with movement, speech, and other remarkable milestones. This stage is crucial as your toddler requires the right kind of nutrition to aid her in her growth for the short-term as well as the long-term.
Creating the right kind of diet plan for your toddler will also lead to developing good eating habits in the future. In this article, I have listed a variety of superfoods for your toddler which will be nutritious, filling, and a great mealtime experience for your baby.
A Balanced Diet for Your Toddler
The standard balanced diet for a toddler must include vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and proteins. Their diet is like our diets and may only vary in portion size. Make a food chart for the entire week or month with options from each category to make meal-time fun for your toddler. While picking vegetables and fruits, always remember to include different colors for different types of nutrition. In the dairy section, lean towards high calcium and low-fat products.
Grains could include rice, wheat, cereals, cornmeal, oats and barley which are highly fibrous and good for overall health. Lastly, choose lean, low-fat poultry meats for the protein intake of your child. Fish and other nut oils which are high in protein should be introduced as well. Do not yet introduce animal fats into their diet as they are solid fats and are not very healthy for them.
The Right Portion
A baby's day is filled with many high-energy activities. This means your baby may crave food every couple of hours, as their portions are smaller and they are digesting faster. A typical day for a baby could include three meals, 6-8 drinks, and 2-3 snacks. Their portion size is equivalent to the amount that can fit into their cupped hands, which closely mimics the size of their small tummies. Lollaland dipping cups make a great toddler portion size, by the way!
Ensure they are given the right snacks or drinks during these hunger pangs. According to whattoexpect.com, “Like adults, kids these days consume too much salt and sugar. Scour grocery aisles for products labeled low sodium — soups, ketchup, salad dressings, breads, and frozen dinners can have surprisingly high amounts. And — here’s a tough one — make sugary goodies occasional treats.”
Identifying Healthy Foods
Mothers are in a constant flux of creating the perfect meals for their babies. Remember that all the nutrition sources don’t have to make it into one meal. They can be divided between different meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) or snack-time. As mentioned previously in this article there should be equal portions of grains, fruits & vegetables, dairy, and proteins to give your child a balanced diet.
Once the food groups are properly understood you can make your own meal plan according to the local produce, your child’s taste preferences, weather conditions, etc.
Along with feeding your toddler a balanced diet, make sure they are always well hydrated. Especially during summers when they are highly active, give them water, milk and other liquids in the form fruit juices. The average amount of water consumed by a toddler should be approximately 1 liter, so make it the main drink to quench their thirst. Apart from this also include vitamin supplements prescribed by their doctors to boost their diet and nourishment.
Dealing with Taste Fussiness
Taste preferences of babies always begin with a sweet taste which carries on till they are older. So, if you introduce other tastes, there is a high chance of rejection for up to 10-12 attempts before it will be accepted. Hence the next time your toddler says no to food, try giving it a couple of days later.
Taste evolution happens through exposure of different tastes. Read food-related stories to them or cook together to involve them in the process and letting them accept the different types of food on their own. And more importantly stick to home-cooked food to be in full control of the kind of quality your baby eats, reducing the risk of junk food cravings.
Feeding a toddler isn’t an easy task but being understanding and staying calm can make the task less stressful. Let them accept the food at their own terms and till then keep trying to make food interesting for their eyes and palate.