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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Drinking lots of water.

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

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.

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.

Eat Healthy

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sippy cups and excess

Toddlers that are allowed to carry their bottle or sippy cup of milk around all day can actually over drink.