Tips for toddlers: Healthy snacks and meals

Tips for toddlers: Healthy snacks and meals

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Teach your toddler to savor delicious and nutritious food by serving a variety of healthy meals and snacks. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Get your toddler to help

Tap into your child's curiosity. Take your toddler shopping with you and let him pick out whatever fresh fruit or vegetable catches his fancy. Kids are more likely to eat and enjoy what they choose.

Keep servings small

How much your child needs to eat daily depends on her age, weight, and activity level. Most 1- to 2-year-olds eat between 800 and 1,000 calories a day.

A healthy portion size for a toddler is about a quarter of an adult portion. There's no need to count calories – just remember to adjust portions accordingly.

Don't worry about fat

Toddlers need to get about half their calories from dietary fat for normal growth and development. That may seem like a lot, but if your child is eating only 1,000 calories a day, you don’t need to worry about him gaining weight too quickly.

Once your child reaches the age of 2, gradually decrease the amount of fat in his diet until it’s less than about a third of his daily calories.

Cut it up

Until children reach the age of 4, they can't chew food very well. Cut your child's snack into bite-size pieces. If you're serving vegetables, cook them first so they're soft, then chop them so they're easy to eat.

Foods that may cause young children to choke include peanuts, whole grapes, whole cherry tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chunks of peanut butter, celery, and cherries with pits.

Be flexible

It's not unusual for young kids to do an about face when it comes to their favorite food. Your toddler may want the same lunch several days in a row, then suddenly decide he doesn't like it anymore. It can be frustrating, but try not to make a big deal about it.

Have other healthy choices on hand. If you're offering something he hasn't tried before, just give him a tiny bit and serve it alongside a familiar food. And don't insist that he eat a full portion of something he's not used to.

Cook together

If your toddler helps make a meal, she's more likely to want to eat it. Give her age-appropriate jobs in the kitchen, like washing vegetables, adding and stirring ingredients, and tearing up lettuce. Cooking together is an excellent way to foster good feelings about food.

Keep it simple

Even if you love to cook, it's hard to find the time when you have young children. Luckily, you can prepare nutritious food your toddler will love in just minutes.

Check out our fresh ideas for quick and healthy snacks and strategies to win over picky eaters.

Watch the video: Best Snacks for Toddlers: Food My Babies Love! Susan Yara (August 2022).

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