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.

Getting past the “picky-eater” stage

If your child is going through a picky-eater stage, invite over a friend who is the same age or slightly older whom you know “likes to eat”. Your child will catch on. Group feeding lets the other kids set the example.

limiting meal times

Limit mealtimes to about 20 – 30 minutes. Research shows that most toddlers eat whatever they are going to in the first 20 minutes.

Six servings of grains

Kids ages 12-24 mos need at least 6 servings of grains each day, so snack time is definitely a prime opportunity to sneak some in. Cheerios and other low-sugar cereals are a great quick and easy option.

Coconut milk is not real milk

Coconut milk is not really milk and doesn’t provide the same nourishment as normal milks. It contains a lot of fat and provides little else of value to the diet and cannot be used to replace other milks.

Appearance is important

For something new and different, why not use your child’s own toy plates for dishing out a snack? Kids enjoy the unexpected.

Milk guidelines

When deciding on the milk to give your child follow these guidelines: Give full cream milk to children between 1 and 2 years of age. Whole milk has 4% fat. Children over 2 years of age do not need full cream milk.

The make-up of sugar

Sugars supply a large amount of calories, with little nutritional value. They include white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey and molasses and foods like candy, soft drinks, jams, and jellies.

Weaning of the bottle

By the end of the first year, your child may be well onto the cup and off the bottle. Introducing a cup should be done slowly. Start by giving water or juice in a cup.

Limiting liquids

If your toddler is drinking too much milk and/or juice, she may be too full to eat, so follow the typical recommendations of 16-24 ounces of milk and 4-6 ounces of juice.

Quiet activities before meals

A quiet activity or a rest before meals or snacks is a good idea as a tired or energized toddler may well not be interested in eating.

Healthy snacks are the key

For picky eaters between the ages of 1 and 3, healthy snacks at regular intervals are key. Toddlers have small appetites, so they won’t eat much at each meal.

Sugars in drinks

Many foods and drinks have sugar added to them. For a sweet treat, pick foods that are naturally sweet, such as strawberries, honey and pineapple, rather than cakes or biscuits.

Don’t replace food with fluids

Prevent your toddler from filling up on excessive fluids before meals. Offering sips of water or milk to quench thirst is fine.

Fluids and sick toddler

There are a number of ways that you can replace fluids in your sick toddler. Water, juice, popsicles, broth and jell-O are all good choices.

Trying new foods

A couple of tablespoons are usually plenty to serve, especially for new foods. Small plates and small portions are just right for small eyes and stomachs.

Mixing new foods with old favorites

Keep the old, while bringing in the new: It is best to introduce a new food when served with a food he already likes.

Children and food

Don’t overreact, scold, bribe, beg, or reward with a treat to get your toddler to eat. Over-controlling turns down the volume of the natural internal cues for hunger and fullness.

Binging toddlers

Toddlers from one to three years need between 1,000 and 1,300 calories a day, yet they may not eat this amount every day. Aim for a nutritionally-balanced week, not a balanced day.

Leading by example

Children learn by watching you, so set healthy mealtime habits. Turn off the TV and let your toddler enjoy meals with the family.