Working with leading nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, we recently released the first ever European Toddler Nutrition Index.
The study, which you may have seen on Sky News or in national newspapers, reveals the attitudes to diet and food of mums with toddlers in: the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Italy.
As many mums know, toddler eating habits can often be unpredictable and can, on some days, make life a little more difficult. In fact, our survey found out that our testy UK toddlers are the most likely (8%) in Europe to fling food they don’t like at the wall or on the floor in protest. We’ve also found that this behaviour leaves most UK mums feeling frustrated (51%), worried (38%), upset (24%), or even angry (12%).
Dr Carrie Ruxton comments: “Toddlers have distinct nutritional requirements that aren’t always easy to meet and, while it can be a struggle to provide them with all of the hard to get nutrients they need, mums will be pleased to know that it isn’t impossible.
“Survey results reflect this behaviour is taking its toll on UK mums but it’s important to remember that shouting, bribing with sweet treats or TV only tends to make things worse. A calm approach to mealtimes, using encouragement, stickers, or special playtime as rewards, is more effective.”
You can learn more with tips and hints on how to deal with fussy and faddy eating from child psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson here.
The European Toddler Nutrition Index also revealed that UK mums also top the poll when it comes to being the most unaware about Vitamin D requirements for toddlers, with nine out of ten mums (91%) – the highest in Europe – unsure of the recommended nutrient intake (RNI), closely followed by France (89%) and Spain (88%).
The survey found that UK mums are often mistaken about the types of foods that contain vitamin D. If you’re not too sure about good sources of vitamin D, visit our vitamin D section.
Dr Carrie Ruxton adds: “Despite vitamin D being such an essential vitamin for toddlers during these formative years, the survey reveals that UK mums, more than anywhere else in the European countries polled, know very little about how much vitamin D their toddler needs.
“As so few foods provide vitamin D, it’s worth knowing there are vitamin D fortified products that are easy to offer on a daily basis. For example just two 150ml beakers a day of Growing Up Milk provides 73% of toddlers’ daily dietary recommendation for vitamin D.”