Tips for feeding Toddlers
Developing healthy eating habits and skills is one of your roles as a parent, caregiver, or teacher. Healthy eating goes beyond what you eat. We also need to think about how we eat.
When it comes to feeding and eating, you and your child have a special relationship. There is a role each of you plays. It is your responsibility to decide what foods to offer, when to offer them, and where.
To decide whether to eat, what to eat from the choices provided, and how much to eat, your child should make choices for themselves. You can make mealtimes more enjoyable for your child by respecting this feeding relationship, and you can focus on teaching your child how to eat well.
How do I choose foods for my child?
Your child should have access to the same healthy foods you and the rest of your family eat. Choose foods that have a variety of textures and flavours. Make sure to include:
Healthy food for babies
Various whole-grain foods, including whole-grain pasta, bread, oats, and barley. Foods high in protein include meat, fish, poultry, dried beans, peas, lentils, nut and seed butter, tofu, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages.
It helps prevent iron deficiency and promotes brain growth and development by eating iron-rich foods. Iron-fortified infant cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, dried beans, peas, and lentils are high in iron. Your child should eat all of these foods at every meal.
Ensure that the foods you offer are prepared with little or no salt or sugar added. Choose foods that contain healthy fats, such as salmon, avocados, and nut butter.
What should I give my child to drink?
It is not necessary to stop offering your child breastmilk once they reach the age of 2 years old.
A milk beverage and fortified soy beverage are healthy drinks that provide calcium, vitamin D, and protein to growing children.
Each day, provide 500 mL of pasteurized whole cow’s milk (3.25 percent milkfat)
You can begin offering lower-fat milk options when your child is 2 years old, such as skim, 1%, or 2%. You can also offer your child fortified soy beverages.
You should limit the amount of milk and soy beverages your child drinks to 750 milliliters (3 cups) so that they have room for a variety of healthy foods, including iron-rich foods
Only serve milk or soy beverages with meals and snacks (for children over 2 years of age)
Ask your health care provider or a registered dietitian what you can offer your child instead if they don’t drink whole cow’s milk or soy drink.
A child’s growth is not supported by rice, potato, almond, coconut, oat, hemp, and coconut drinks because they are low in protein and fat.
You can offer water between meals and snacks. When your child is thirsty, water is an excellent beverage choice.
When you give your child a drink, use an open cup instead of a sippy cup or bottle. Your child will learn to drink from an open cup. It will also reduce the risk of tooth decay.
The consumption of sugary drinks, including pop, sports drinks, fruit juice beverages, and fruit-flavored drinks made from powders or crystals, is not recommended for children. Sugary drinks squander your child’s energy and replace healthier foods with empty calories. Including 100% fruit juice, all fruit juice has a high sugar content and a low fiber content. It is best to give your child whole fruit instead.
When should I serve food to my child?
You should feed your child three small meals and two or three snacks two to three hours apart. It would be best if you served meals and snacks simultaneously each day. Your child can develop healthy eating habits by following a regular meal and snack schedule.
What amount of food does my child need?
Many factors determine how much food a child needs. Examples include age, activity level, growth rate, appetite, etc. Children’s appetites differ from day to day, so it’s normal for them to fluctuate. Your child’s appetite can also be influenced by their mood, health, the time of day, and the food they are served. Make sure to serve organic and healthy baby food from the start.
You can start by offering small portions at meals and snacks and let them ask for more as they want it.
Is there anything I can do to ensure my child eats well?
It would be best if you ate with your child.
Your child looks up to you as their best role model. Your example of healthy eating will inspire them to do the same. Be sure to supervise them when they eat.
Offer new foods frequently.
You should offer new foods often and serve them in conjunction with at least one food that your child eats well. Children often need to touch, smell, and see food several times before tasting it. Before eating a certain food, your child may have to sample it many times. You can continue introducing new foods to your child, including those they may have rejected before.
Don’t rush your child’s meal.
It may take your child longer to eat than you do. Let them eat their food slowly. Let your child leave the table for a book or toy when they indicate that they are done eating by playing with the food.
Don’t force your child to eat.
The act of allowing your child to self-feed is essential to help him learn to eat. Babies and young children learn through touch, smell, taste, and eye contact with foods. It takes time to develop the ability to use spoons and forks. Learning to eat is also a matter of making a mess.
Keep mealtimes calm and distractions to a minimum.
Allow your child to concentrate on eating by turning off the TV, cell phone, tablet, and computer during the meal. Furthermore, you will focus on making memories rather than on what and how much your child consumes.
Provide the same food in different ways.
It would be best if you were patient. Provide your child with foods that are prepared differently. You can offer more variety by roasting vegetables, cutting up vegetables for soups and pasta sauces, and making smoothies with whole fruits and vegetables. If your child enjoys a certain way of cooking vegetables, give them other vegetables prepared that way.
What if my child doesn’t want to eat?
The occasional missed meal is not a cause for concern if your child is growing well. A registered dietitian or your health care professional can provide additional information about your child’s growth, appetite, and intake.
The next time your child doesn’t want to eat a portion of food, remove it from your child’s plate and wait until the next meal or snack. By offering your children different meals, they will not become healthy eaters.
Children sometimes refuse to eat anything but the same foods repeatedly. The behavior is normal and may last for a few weeks or months. If the “favorite” food is healthy, continue to serve it together with additional healthy options. Your child should be given less of the “favorite” food if it is a less healthy option.
It’s not a good idea to use dessert as a reward for eating. Your child should not be forced or bribed to eat. It is important to trust your child’s appetite when deciding whether and how much to eat.
Remember these things
Toddlers who are not forced to eat regularly can balance their food intake and activities.
It is important to provide children with the same variety of textures and flavors as the rest of their families to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet.
Snack time is an important element of the day for young children, so make sure that their snacks are healthy, nutritious, and interesting.
Limit screen time and encourage active play.
Reference: Feeding Toddlers