Feeding themselves

The best way to prevent feeding problems is to teach your child to feed himself as early as possible, provide them with healthy choices and allow experimentation.

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Diet and health

Your two-year-old’s health is closely tied to how much he eats, what he eats, and how active he is. Obesity and weight-related diseases affect about 20 percent of all children today.

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Youngsters and snacking

Young children need to snack throughout the day in addition to regularly scheduled meals. Keep the snacks small and provide water instead of juice or milk so your preschooler will be hungry at mealtime.

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Calories and toddlers

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that children age 1 to 3 years get about 40 calories per inch of height a day. Your 32-inch-tall toddler ideally should eat about 1,300 calories a day.

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Food first, suppliments later

Don’t be quick to give your child nutritional supplements such as Pediasure or other high-calorie snacks when he isn’t eating well. Instead of boosting calories this often backfires and fills your child up with liquids.

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How toddlers eat

Parents often describe their toddlers as being picky eaters, but it is often hard to know if that it is because they eat small amounts at a time or because they like to eat the same things every day. Both can be normal.

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Eating together promotes healthy eating

Recent studies have shown that children who grow up in families that eat meals together are less likely to become overweight or have eating disorders.

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Benefits of whole milk

Whole milk gives children under 2 increased energy and the fat they need for brain development. But after age 2, children can have low-fat milk because their diet is more varied and they get fats from other foods.

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Calories in your tots diet

Drinks can sneak extra calories into your preschooler’s diet. Use this list to find out the calories and sugar in common preschooler beverages like juice, milk, soda, fruit punch and sports drinks.

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Nuts and seeds

Think of nuts and seeds as little storage units for nutrients. Almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, and hazelnut butter are great alternatives to peanut butter but with the same healthy fats, minerals, fiber and vitamins.

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Toddler meals

Lunch is a really important meal for your preschooler. It should provide more than 1/4 of the day’s total calories and contain a mix of the healthy food groups.

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Food jag

Most children undergo a normal part of development know as a food jag. Food jags occur when children either refuse to eat a previously accepted food, or when they insist on eating one particular food all the time.

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Overweight kids

According to the national Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, 10.2 percent of children in the United States under the age of five were overweight in 1998.

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Drinking lots of water.

To help your toddler drink adequate amounts of water, always have this on the table at meal and snack times.

A jug of chilled water in the fridge with slices of lemon or a sprig of mint tastes good while in summer you can freeze small pieces of chopped fruit in ice blocks and add to his water.

Always take filled water bottles when you go out with your toddler so you do not have to resort to buying unsuitable liquids if he gets thirsty.

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Picky eaters

What if an underweight toddler is a picky eater? This is a typical problem with many toddlers, but is one that can be overcome.

It often takes offering a food 15 times before a picky eater will try the food. Try offering new foods to toddlers along with foods that they like and they will eventually experiment with the food.

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Eat Healthy

Be a role model by eating a healthy, balanced and varied diet

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Curb treats for good behavior

Curb the tendency of rewarding your toddler with a treat whenever he/she does well, as this will make him/her develop an unhealthy emotional relationship with food.

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Mercury and ADHD

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury, which can zap kids’ ability to think and concentrate.

For children, these potential side effects occur with much lower levels of exposure than for adults. Kids with ADHD to avoid high mercury fish including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

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Teach healthy eating

Provide three nutritious meals supplemented with two to three healthy snacks daily.

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Toddler serving size

The typical serving size for a toddler is about 1/4 of what an adult size serving would be, so you would only expect a toddler to eat 1/4 of a slice of bread, 1-2 tablespoons of vegetables, or 1 ounce of meat.

From: pediatrics.about.com Opens in new window