Toddlers' nutritional requirements differ from those of older children and adults. Rapidly growing and extremely active, toddlers need more calories and nutrients. They require a healthy, varied and well- balanced diet to thrive and grow. Check out these healthy dietary recommendations for your little ones.
1. FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Serve at each meal so that your toddler learns they are a normal part of each meal. Aim for about five servings a day. Serve fruit at breakfast and at least one vegetable and one fruit at lunch and the evening meal. Set a good example by eating fruit and vegetables yourself. Cut raw fruit and vegetables into slices, cubes or sticks as toddlers find these easier to eat than a large whole fruit. Toddlers often prefer the flavor of vegetables that have been stir fried, roasted or baked rather than boiled.
2. MILK, CHEESE AND YOGURT
Serve three times a day. Toddlers need less milk than babies and you should aim to replace bottles with beakers and cups by your child's first birthday.
One serving is about 120ml (4oz) glass or cup of milk. A 120g pot of full fat yogurt or Cheese in a sandwich or on top of a pizza slice. A serving of custard or another milk pudding made with whole milk. A serving of food in a white cheese sauce such as macaroni cheese. Some toddlers may continue with breastfeeds
3. FOODS HIGH IN FAT AND SUGAR
Allow some each day with foods high in fat and sugar but not instead of, the other food groups. Olive oil, soya oil, walnut oil and rapeseed oil give a good balance of omega 3 and 6 fats. "Pure vegetable oil" is often rapeseed oil. These includes cake, biscuits or ice cream with fruit as a pudding sometimes. Allow sweets, chocolate and confectionery occasionally as part of a pudding, however too much sugary foods may harm your child's teeth. Dilute sweetened drinks and serve in beakers or cups, not bottles, to reduce the risk of dental decay.Only rarely offer salty snacks such as crisps.
BY AJAYI OLUWASEUN .C