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How to Feed a Toddler

Updated on January 12, 2012

My Toddler Eating

Some Tips on How to Feed Kids

We all know that good nutrition helps with developing brains, but it's no easy task coming up with things to feed your toddler. I myself am not a very healthy eater. That's something I hope to change since I now have a child to look after. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can as her mom to help her grow up "big and strong" as they say. So I'm pooling all of my resources and experience to help come up with a comprehensive list of tips and ideas when planning meals and snacks for children.

I just wrote a blog post filled with great ideas of what to feed toddlers: Snacks and Meals, but this article is about how to feed a toddler.

Make a Feeding Schedule

Do you breastfeed? If you formula fed, are you still doing so or is your child on whole milk exclusively now? Write down the times when you do these feedings (if still applicable). Then schedule in Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. After you've got that set, figure out when you can give a morning snack and an afternoon snack. It may seem like a lot, but just think of all the calories your little one is burning by running around all day!

Where do I put the Little Feeding Machine?

In his or her high chair. Your baby / toddler should be in the high chair for all meals and snacks (obviously not while breastfeeding). I have been known to deviate from this. Occasionally, I'll give her an animal cracker on the floor or some goldfish in her jumparoo, but those are rare instances. It's important not to let your child have any snacks in his or her car set while driving. This is a dangerous choking hazard.

What to do during Feeding Time

I strap my baby into the high chair, and giver her a sippy cup with whole milk. This keeps her occupied while I get some food ready. Our pediatrician insists on whole milk at this age (13 months) and also told me that more often than the reverse, parents give their toddlers too much milk. She said 8oz per day is good. Our doctor also said not to give her any juice unless it's being used for medical reasons (sometimes they just need a little bit of prune juice to help move things along - you moms know what I mean). The sugar is not good for them at this point, and giving juice now could cause tooth decay.

Next, if it's dinner time, I feed her the meal in courses. I steam some vegetables before I do anything else. She does like [some] veggies, but if I put them on her tray with everything else, she won't eat them. So I put the peas, corn, carrots, etc in front of her first and since she's hungry she munches away. My daughter is not a great meat eater so that's what I go for next. I make sure the pieces are shredded into very small bits because meat makes me nervous as far as choking hazards go. Most of the time, she does not like it when I try to feed her ("Mom I can do it myself!"), but sometimes if I don't help get the meat in her mouth, she won't eat it. I don't force her to eat anything, but I do encourage. After she's eaten a good amount of meat and green veggies, I'll give her the stuff she really likes: wheat bread, potatoes, fruit, cheese, whatever else we're having...

I think you should try to give a little bit of fruit with every serving of food throughout the day. Fruit is natural, full of vitamins and provides a great way to keep energy up.

Similar Hubs / Posts:

By me: What to Feed Your Toddler

By others:
Nutrition and Toddlers
Healthy Eating for Kids


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      reminds me when my boy was age 3, so hard to get anything into his mouth as if he has ten holes in his mouth

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Good refresher. My youngest is 4 and a half months now and soon its time to start the dreaded feeding. I hate the spills in the first few months.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great resource, Jamie! I like how you broke down the entire process during dinner time.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 6 years ago

      It's always fun feeding toddlers. I've had three and still have a 2 year old. He is just now coming off his food jags and starting to eat everything (olives, yogurt, veggies, tomato's) after months of pushing everything away. My advice is keep with it, stick to your beliefs, and eventually healthy eating behaviors will win out. It takes 12-15 tries before we decide whether we like a food. Great information!