Toddlers use up lots of energy, and need a good balance of nutrients and protein. A varied diet across the five food groups will ensure healthy growth for your baby.
Starchy foods like these, including yam and chapatti, are great sources of energy and should make up the main part of each meal. Choose some white and some wholegrain options.
They contain vitamins, minerals and fibre. Aim to offer fruit at breakfast and vegetables and fruit at the other two main meals. Toddlers, like adults, should also have five or more portions of fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruit per day.
That includes foods such as nuts, lentils, dhal and tofu too, which all provide iron and zinc. Add foods from this group to meals twice a day and offer oily fish once or twice per week.
Offer three servings a day of these foods. Milk is still important, but a child over a year old needs less than a baby. 3 cups of milk of about 3-4oz is enough. However give fewer milk drinks if your toddler is eating yoghurt and cheese. Bottles of milk should be discontinued from about 12 months of age. From a year, fresh, whole cow’s milk can be given instead of formula, unless you are continuing to breastfeed.
Toddlers naturally like these foods, but it’s advisable to keep them to a minimum. Always offer a pudding at the two main meals, but don’t allow these foods to replace other nutritious foods from the other food groups.
In the UK, young children up to the age of five years are recommended to take a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A & D as they don’t naturally get enough of these vitamins from their food. It will help your child’s immune system and make sure their bones develop normally.
Stay clear of meals that are high in fat and salt. Convenience foods and ready meals are best given sparingly, unless they are specially made for young children.
Don’t give your toddler diet or slimming food. Low calorie foods are not suitable for toddlers as they need extra calories to fuel their growth.
Healthy, wholesome family food is the best option. It’s nutritious and economical, allowing you to make large batches of meals and then separate them into individual portions for storage in the refrigerator and freezer. The Philips AVENT VIA System is ideal for storing and serving your food.
Keeping it interesting and varied is the key. Introduce new food to your child in small portions. Let them try a couple of mouthfuls, rather than a whole plate. You may well need to offer a new food quite a few times before your little one will accept it. This is quite common, so don’t be downhearted, just keep trying. Offer plenty of finger foods to your child, and always allow them to decide when they’ve eaten enough.