1 in 5 children between the age of 1 – 5 years are fussy eaters and 90% of toddlers will go through a fussy eating phase. Here are 5 tips feeding your toddler.
Encourage tasty foods from all the various food groups
- Protein foods are foods that build muscles in the body and contain iron necessary for growth and development. Protein foods include chicken, fish, meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans and lentils.
- Energy foods fuel the body and include breads, pasta, rice, cereals, sugars and treat foods like cakes, sweets etc.
- Fats provide energy as a back up resource, however the primary role of fat in the diet is to build brain pathways, ‘oil’ the joints and assist the immune system while providing insulation for those cold winter months. Fats in the diet can include olive oil, canola oil, butters, margarines, tree nuts, avocado pears and olives.
- Fruit and vegetables are protective to the body and are the glamour foods. They sustain the immune system of the body to fight ‘bad bugs’ that cause illnesses and they also ensure our hair, skin and overall appearance is optimal!
So what exactly is your role then as parent?
- Provide a variety of the foods on a daily basis in various forms.
- Identify the favourite foods of your little person, and provide these foods regularly
- Offer texture changes as your child grows, but this is also developmental and must be done at their pace.
- Encourage (not force) introduction of new foods in a pleasant environment.
- Watch and learn the cues your baby /toddler gives when they are hungry, or when they are full and satisfied and respond accordingly.
- No coaxing, bribing, threatening
- Help prevent iron deficiency anemia by including:
- Red meat in your child’s diet 2 times per week
- Regular intake of chicken, fish and eggs
- Leafy green vegetables,
- Iron fortified cereals and porridges and dried beans with vitamin C-rich foods to improve absorption
- Iron-rich snacks
- Help prevent Folate deficiency anaemia by including:
- Leafy green vegetable
- Organ meats
- Lactose intolerance