It is well known that feeding toddlers can often be challenging. Between the age of 1 to 3, several developmental changes take place and toddlers tend to strive for independence and control. Their growth rate slows down and along with it, their appetite decreases. This implies that these changes can make mealtime rather difficult. Therefore, it is important for parents to provide a structure and define limits for their toddlers. Here are a few suggestions that will help parents cope with mealtime and ensure that your toddler gets the nutrition he/she needs:
Nutrition Tips for Toddlers:
1. Feed your toddler regular meals and snacks. Be flexible with food acceptance as toddlers are often reluctant to try new things.
2. Ideally, the food portions for a toddler should be one-fourth of the portion for an adult.
3. Limit juice intake and encourage the consumption of whole fruits.
4. Feed your toddler with bite-size pieces which will allow them to easily consume food.
5. Focus on serving your toddler with soft food, in room temperature.
6. Use child-size spoons and forks with dull prongs.
7. While feeding meat to your toddler, use ground meat rather than steak or chops.
8. Seat your toddler at a comfortable height in a secure chair.
9. Refrain from running after your toddler while feeding him/her.
Nutrition and Activity Tips:
1. Try to control when and where your toddler eats by providing regular meals accompanied by social interactions and demonstration of healthy eating behaviors.
2. Limit calorie intake by controlling portion sizes and reducing the consumption of non-processed foods.
3. Parents are encouraged to limit their child’s television/video watching to less than 2 hours and replace these sedentary activities with those that require more movement.
4. In order to maintain good health, fitness and a healthy growth weight, children and adolescents are required to engage in physical activity for a minimum of 1 hour per day.
5. To prevent dehydration, children must be encouraged to drink fluids and water regularly during and after the physical activity.
*Ensure to consult your child’s health care provider regarding his/her healthy diet and exercise requirements.
Aster Hospital, Mankhool