Your toddler is growing and establishing at an incredible rate, so he requires the right combination of calories and nutrients to help keep him going. There’s plenty you can do to motivate him to eat a balanced diet, even if he appears to be a picky eater.
What is a balanced diet and why is it so important?
A well balanced diet needs to contain lots of various foods, provided in a range of combinations. This will ensure that your toddler gets everything he has to grow, establish and explore. It also helps him to learn more about brand-new flavours, and develop healthy eating practices that will last a life time.
Nevertheless, supplying a balanced diet for a toddler every day can be quite a challenge. So attempt not to worry if you don’t constantly accomplish it. As long as your toddler eats well most of the time, he will be getting plenty of nutrients.
What foods does my toddler need for a balanced diet?
Do not feel that you have to stick to a particular food to provide your toddler with a specific nutrient. For instance, meat will offer your toddler protein, but he can also get protein from chickpeas, baked beans and peanut butter.
You can also provide your toddler what he needs by selecting recipes with nutrient-rich foods. If he turns his nose up at a boiled egg and a glass of milk, try giving him a homemade pancake instead. Exact same nutrients, different food!
Offer both a sweet and savoury course at lunch and supper, so he gets even more possibilities to eat different foods. Being creative and offering variety with his meals will help to make eating more exciting for him.
To assist your toddler eat well, try to give him something from each of the following food groups every day:
Starchy foods (carbs)
Offer starchy foods with each meal and for some snacks. Starchy foods include:
- potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Foods made from flour, such as crackers and bread, are likewise starchy foods. Offer a mix of both white and wholegrain foods, or choose half-and-half ranges. Your toddler might like white bread however only eat wholemeal toast. Or he might tuck into wholegrain cereals, such as porridge, but just eat white pasta. Experiment to see what works best for him.
Do not be tempted to just offer your toddler wholegrain foods. They’re more filling than other carbs, which suggests your toddler might stop consuming before he’s had adequate calories and nutrients.
What Are The Best Fruits and Vegetables for Toddlers?
These are particularly important as they consist of important vitamins and minerals to assist your toddler grow. You might discover that he enjoys particular fruits more than vegetables, most likely since of their sweet taste. But keep providing veg so that your toddler learns that they’re a regular part of a meal.
Keep your toddler interested by picking uncommon vegetables and fruit. You might attempt organizing fruit and vegetables into the shape of a face, or cutting them up and offering them with a dip.
Multicoloured plates of fruit or vegetables may also assist to tempt him. Banana, kiwi fruit, blueberries and strawberries work well as a tiny fruit platter. Or you might use red pepper, sweetcorn, broccoli and cauliflower to make a colourful vegetable assortment.
Try to constantly offer your toddler fruit as part of his sweet course. This way he’ll find out that dessert does not need to mean sugary foods, chocolate, biscuits or cake.
List of Recommended Fruits for Toddler
- apples, dried apricots, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit (pink), grapes, kiwi, mandarin oranges, mango, nectarines, navel oranges, peaches, raisins, and strawberries.
List of Recommended Vegetables for Toddler
- asparagus, avocado, beets, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, corn, edamame, french fries, green beans, green peas, green peppers, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, potato (baked), pumpkin, red peppers, spinach (prepared and raw), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and yellow peppers.
High-iron and high-protein foods
Your toddler has to have foods that are high in iron and protein two times or 3 times a day. Some of the best sources are:
- chopped or ground nuts and nut items such as peanut butter and almond butter (whole nuts pose a choking risk).
- pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans.
Toddlers can choke on whole nuts, so try grinding them up and mixing them into his meal.
Ensure that any meat products you buy are high-quality, and are made from lean meat with little or no added salt. Keep these foods intriguing by experimenting with marinades for meat, and making your own mild curries, lentil dhal or hummus.
Dairy products are high in calcium, which is necessary to assist your toddler grow strong bones and teeth. Ideally, he needs to have three parts of milk every day.
Milk foods include:
- cheese and cheese sauces.
If you wish to feed your toddler yogurt, choose a plain, full-fat range, or one that doesn’t have a lot of sugar. To sweeten plain yoghurt, try mixing it with fruit.
Milk is still an excellent source of calcium for your toddler, but he does not need as much as he did when he was a baby. Goal to give him about 350ml (two thirds of a pint) to 500ml (a pint) of milk a day. It’s best not to provide more than this as it may lower his cravings for other foods.
The World Health Organisation suggests that you continue to offer your toddler breastmilk until he’s two, or perhaps older. If this isn’t right for your family, it’s fine to provide him cows’ milk instead. There’s no have to give your toddler follow-on formula milk, however.
If you do decide to offer your toddler cows’ milk, ensure it’s full-fat till he’s two. He’ll require the additional calories for all that rushing around. Full-fat milk likewise includes more vitamin A than lower-fat varieties. Once your toddler is two, you can start offering semi-skimmed milk if you want to, but avoid skimmed milk until he’s at least five.
Are there any foods that I should limit?
Yes. Some foods have lots of calories, but very little in the way of nutrients. The following ought to just be provided as an occasional treat, if at all.
Foods high in fat and sugar
Fatty and sugary foods include:
- ice cream.
Your toddler needs a lot of calories to keep him energised, however these foods have little dietary advantage. They can likewise enhance the risk of him ending up being overweight. Stick to little parts and attempt to offer much healthier options where possible.
Sweets and chocolate
These can make an excellent treat, but they shouldn’t be consumed every day. Sweet foods include little or no goodness and can spoil your toddler’s cravings. They can likewise harm his teeth.
Your toddler requires no more than 2g of salt a day. It can be tricky to watch on how much he consumes due to the fact that some foods naturally include salt. Here are some ideas on how to prevent giving your toddler too much:
- Offer crisps and salty treats no more than when a week. A whole bag of crisps is too salted for your toddler, so just give him a couple of at a time.
- Attempt not to include salt to your toddler’s meal. Use herbs and spices to include flavour instead. If you and the rest of your household would like extra flavoring, include it individually.
- Limitation the variety of ready meals and takeaways that your toddler eats. These foods typically consist of a lot of covert salt. If you provide your toddler an all set meal, give him a little portion and include plenty of vegetables.
Oily fish are a great source of omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. Salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna are all oily fish. You do not need to offer them to your toddler frequently though. This is due to the fact that oily fish consist of percentages of contaminants which can build up over time. Offering them as soon as a week or two times a week is great.
There’s no have to limit most types of white fish, however. For example, your toddler can eat as much cod, haddock, plaice and skate as he likes. However, some white fish include similar levels of particular contaminants as oily fish, so it is advised that toddlers eat no greater than 4 parts a week of:
- sea bream.
- sea bass.
- rock salmon.
Children below 16 need to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin. This is due to the fact that they include more mercury than other fish, which isn’t great for growing bodies.
If your toddler has asthma, hayfever or a food allergy, consult your health visitor or GP before providing foods containing peanuts. You ought to also do this if allergies run in your family. In this manner you can assist to prevent a possible allergic reaction. Talk to your GP or health visitor for more advice.
Does my toddler need a vitamin supplement?
The government recommends that children in between six months and 5 years take supplements including vitamins A, C and D. This will assist to prevent rickets (a bone disease), and to promote healthy development.
Having a vitamin supplement is especially important for toddlers who fall into among these classifications:
- Fussy eaters.
- Those living in northern areas of the UK, where there might be fewer hours of bright sunshine.
- Those of Asian, African or Middle Eastern origin who have darker skin.