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.

Limiting caffeine

Limit food and drink (especially any drinks containing caffeine) before bedtime. Remember, many clear beverages contain caffeine, so check the label.

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.

Variety of colored foods

Toddlers will notoriously put unusual bite sized objects in their mouths whether they are edible or not. So they are more likely to graze if confronted with a variety of different colored and shaped foods.

Toddler snacks

Offer breakfast, lunch and supper with a healthy snack mid morning and another mid afternoon helping to provide the energy and nutrition your toddler needs during the day.

Chilled water treat

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Teach healthy eating

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

Dips and sauces for food

Let your child put cream cheese or peanut butter on celery. Lots of dips and sauces can make your kids enjoy the taste of their food without taking away too much from the nutritious value of the meals.

Eat Healthy

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

Quiet 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.

Food hazards for toddlers

Toddler’s have one-third the jaw strength of an adult. Softer meats are good alternatives, such as fish, hamburger and high quality lunchmeats.

The trick to get kids eating healthy

The best way to get kids to eat healthy is to give them a choice between two or more healthy foods.

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.