Healthy eating habits developed in the early years can set a child up for good health in later life. Try to have regular meal and snack times each day and include your child in family mealtimes.
Your toddlers appetite varies from day to day, let them decide how much to eat at mealtimes. Encourage your toddler to take the lead at mealtimes and feed themselves with finger foods and to use a spoon.
Toddlers need a diet made up of foods from the 4 main food groups, in the right balance and in portion sizes just right for them:
• Starchy Foods x 5-a-day
• Fruit & Vegetables x 5-a-day (or more)
• Dairy Foods x 3-a-day
• Protein Foods x 2-a-day (or 3 if vegetarian)
Meals for children should be based on starchy foods, which provide energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and at least one portion of fruit and vegetables at every meal and at snack times. Try to include a variety of different types of fruit and vegetables into their diet. Protein and diary should be offered 2-3 times daily. It’s a good idea to limit how often you give processed foods, sugar and salty foods.
Toddlers over 1 year can now have whole milk as a drink. At 1-2 years old toddlers will now be getting most of the nutrients they need from solid food but breastfeeding can continue alongside this. Breast milk can contribute to intakes from the dairy food group.
Water should be offered throughout the day and your toddlers should now be drinking from a free-flow cup and, as soon as they are ready, move on to an open lidded cup.
Encouraging good dental habits with your toddler is really important as their milk teeth continue to come through. Brushing teeth twice daily using a peas sized amount of toothpaste containing fluoride and registering with a dentists will get your little one off to a great start.