A varied and nutritious diet and good eating habits are essential for toddlers’ health, growth, and development.
Rapidly growing and extremely active, toddlers require more calories and nutrients in each mouthful of food than adults. In fact, per kilogram of body weight, they need significantly higher amounts of nutrients. That’s why it’s important each meal includes a variety of different nutrients. During the toddler years, your child will be introduced to a range of different foods for the first time, which can help to set up good food habits.
Toddlers have much smaller stomachs than adults, so cannot eat as much in one sitting. Toddlers learn to regulate the food they eat by how much energy they need, but don’t worry if your child seems to be a fussy eater. Some children regulate their food intake week to week, rather than day to day.
- Try not to allow your child to graze between meals as this can create bad habits in the future
- It’s important for toddlers to have a routine of three meals and two to three snacks per day, however, their portion sizes may vary
- It’s important to allow your toddler to eat to their appetite
- Don’t force them to finish what’s on their plate, as this can make meal times a battle
- The best indicator of whether or not a child is eating enough is their growth and development
- Toddlers should have smaller portions of foods that are high in fat and sugar, for example cakes, sweets, and biscuits
Example Toddler Meal Planner
Looking for mealtime inspiration? Why not print our Toddler Meal Planner here and stick it on your fridge.