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.

Growth and diet in child’s second year

Growth slows down in a child’s second year. This means toddlers often have smaller appetites and need less food.

When tots start eating meat

Meat is started somewhere between 9 and 12 months of age. By age 1, she should be consuming about 2 servings from the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and eggs group per day.

Toddlers and meal time

Most toddlers will not eat three meals a day but will generally prefer to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals.

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.

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.

Think fresh!

Serve as much fresh food as possible. When our babies are small we tend to stew apples, pears and other fruit, but when they no longer need to have mushy food, transition to fresh fruits.

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.

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.

Toddler breastfeeding and formula

If toddler is still breastfeeding then try to continue this as long as you both wish, as there are so many health benefits for both of you.

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.

Allergic causing foods and diet

It was common to delay giving dairy until 1, eggs until 2 & seafood & nuts till 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its thinking in 2008, suggesting that these foods can be introduced together.

Toddler table for 1

Create a toddler-friendly eating area for your child. Toddlers like their own spaces and may eat more at a table sized just for them.

Is your toddler a picky eater?

Even if your toddler is a picky eater, if he is growing normally and is physically active, with a lot of energy, then his diet is probably okay.

Keeping energy levels high

As well as 3 meals a day, snacks are important to keep young kids’ energy levels high throughout the day. Get into the habit of giving them a healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

Respect your toddler’s likes and dislikes.

Respect your toddler’s likes and dislikes. Gently encourage your toddler to try at least one bite of a new food. You may have to offer a new food 10-20 times before your child likes it.