These tips can help you teach your toddler good eating habits that will stick with her for a lifetime:
- Mix it up . A balanced diet depends on a variety of foods from every food group every day—whole grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and beans and dairy. Also be sure to include foods with nutrients that your child may be lacking: Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin D, and fibre.
- Serve a rainbow of fruits and veggies. A variety of colourful foods expands your child’s tastes and provides a variety of nutrients for her tummy. Introducing new foods with old favourites may improve acceptance. For example, if she likes corn, try adding small red capsicum dices.
- Let your child decide how much to eat. Teach your child to respect her appetite by letting her decide what and how much to eat. If she’s hungry, let her eat heartily. But if she’s full, let her stop.
- Snack smart. Serve three small meals and two to three snacks a day. Because some toddlers get 25% of their kilojoules from snacks, make sure to offer nutritious choices for every snack. Avoid high-energy, low-nutrient foods, like chips, cookies and sugary drinks.
- Drink responsibly. Beverages are important for hydration, but too many of them can make your toddler too full to eat. Your toddler’s beverage choices should include water and pasteurized full cream cow’s milk. Limit milk to 2 cups per day. Avoid fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
- Offer healthy fats. Young children need energy from fat for growth. Incorporate healthy sources of predominantly unsaturated fat – fatty fish, avocados, food made with vegetable oils – into your toddlers diet.
- Avoid adding salt. Even if you think your child’s food tastes too bland, remember that she doesn’t need all the salt that tastes right to you. Sodium also becomes a preferred taste once it’s introduced.