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Meal Plans for Toddlers
Meal Plans for Toddlers (1-3 years old)
Toddlers are tricky when it comes to nutrition. There are so many avenues for them to follow, but it is your job to help them choose the path that best suits them and insure proper growth. This lens is dedicated to helping YOU, the parent, help your one, two, or three year old get a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats.
Again, as there are so many people in the world, I want to cover every possible variation of diet. Here you will find meal plans for nursing toddlers, non-nursing toddlers, vegetarians, non-vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, picky eaters, etc.
Remember that feeding your toddler is not a battle, it is a journey. There will days, weeks, or months that your child eats seemingly nothing and other times when he/she cannot get enough. This is normal.
Meal Plan for All Toddlers
This Menu is designed to get as many healthy, yummy, fruits and veggies, and whole grains, and protein in that little mommy monster in one day. Think yummy apple bars and grazing snacks. The recipes included. Not to mention, these can be served for most of the week as the batches make more than one servings worth...meaning less kitchen slaving and more playground playing =)
Apple Breakfast Bars
1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups raw apples, shredded
Combine all ingredients. Let stand 10 minutes. Press mixture into 8" x 8" baking dish. Bake at 375? until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Loosen with spatula, and cut into bars while warm. Serve hot for breakfast or snack **Freezes Well**
1/4 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup rolled oats or Granola*
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
Mix and roll into balls. Easy carrots in the tummy!
*Granola makes these Energy Balls more tasty and adds a nice crunch!
1 bag of tri-color pasta (shaped in wheels or another "fun" shape if possible)
1 C chopped fresh broccoli
1/4 C sliced black olives
1/2 C baby Carrots, julienne
1/2 C zucchini, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
2 T olive oil
black pepper and lemon juice (low-fat salad dressing if your choose)
Boil pasta al dente. SautÃ© broccoli, carrots, zucchini in olive oil until crisp yet tender. Drain & rinse pasta. Combine pasta and vegetables in large bowl and add parmesan cheese to lightly coat. Add black pepper and lemon juice if you wish. Serve warm or cold
ANTS ON A LOG - An Old Favorite
Celery sticks filled with either
peanut butter, cream cheese or hummus
and topped with raisins, apple dices, seeds, nuts, banana dices etc..
These are great snacks for Toddlers! Many toddlers will just eat the "filling" and the raisins, which is just fine! Ensure what you add is appropriate for your Toddler
STUFFED PITAS - The greatest for travel as they act like a plate/bowl!
1 whole grain or oat bran pita pocket
Stuffing such as:
cheese, turkey, chicken, peanut butter-n-jelly, hummus, veggies
Cut off one "top" portion of the pita to enable opening
Stuff pita with your choice of ingredients
Warm in toaster oven or microwave if desired (when melting cheesy-veggie pita for example)
Serve with fruit slices, yogurt and drink
Guidelines for Feeding a One Year Old
Babies and toddlers are very good at listening to their hunger cues, so leave it up to them to decide how much to eat.
Remember not to give him liquids; i.e. milk or fruit juices just before meal times. If you are breast feeding, whole milk will not need to be offered as frequently. Serve no more than 24 ounces of milk per day by one year of age. This will promote an increase in the amount of food your baby eats.
Too much milk and too little food may lead to iron-deficiency anemia.
Babies are reluctant to try new foods, so you might have to introduce a new food multiple times before he will accept it.
Lastly, model good eating behavior. This is the best way to create good eating habits for life.
Toddler Meal Plan #1
Non-Vegetarian Meal Plan, but Can Become a Veggie Menu Quickly
This meal plan from Superkidsnutrition.com is a full of wholesome fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates. There is chicken listed on here, but for the vegetarian sorts (like my and my daughter), swap the meat for more beans or rice. If you are vegan (again, like myself and my daughter), this menu is trickier. I suggest taking the good pieces out of this menu and readjust it for your lifestyle.
Breakfast: 1 - 2 tbsp blackberry applesauce; 1/4 cup Cheerios or toasted O's cereal; 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
Snack: 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese; 4 wheat crackers (no trans fats); 1/2 cup whole milk or breast milk
Lunch: 1 ounce roasted chicken minced; 1 tbsp of brown rice and 1-2 tbsp of black beans with minced tomatoes and 1/2 tsp olive oil; 1 to 2 tbsp cooked yellow peppers; 1/2 cup whole milk or breast milk; 1/2 banana
Snack: 1/2 slice whole wheat toast with 1 tsp of non-hydrogenated margarine; 4 ounces of frozen mango chunks defrosted; 1/2 cup whole Keifer milk
Dinner: 1 Tbsp serving of olives; rinse well & chop; 1 1/2 ounce chicken thigh minced; 1 to 2 tbsp mashed sweet potato mixed with 1 tbsp of sour cream or whole milk yogurt or mashed avocado; 1 to 2 tbsp of chopped green beans; 1/2 cup whole milk or breast milk
Vegan Toddler Meal Plan #2
1 cup iron- fortified breakfast cereal
1 cup spy milk or breastmilk
1 banana, sliced
2-3 large sliced strawberries
1 slice toast or whole wheat muffin with 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup soy milk or breastmilk
1 sandwich with peanut butter
1 cup cooked green vegetables
1 cup soy milk or breastmilk
2-3 tablespoons fruit or berries
1 cup soy milk or breastmilk
2-3 ounces cooked beans
1 cup cooked yellow or orange vegetables
1 cup pasta, rice, or potato
1 cup soy milk or breastmilk
Please remember that your child may not eat all of this, but it is important to continue to present meals to him/her.
Information on Feeding One-Year Olds
Embrace Toddler Grazing
Toddlers graze because they are too busy with life. Let them graze. Here are some ideas:
The Glorious Divided Dish (or the Mighty Muffin Tin)
1 divided dish, divided plastic storage container or muffin tin
diced fruits or diced veggies
pita chips or toast points
Rice Cake Fiesta
Rice cakes are great grazin' foods and they are available in whole grain, unsalted versions too!
Prepare rice cakes with your Toddler's favorite spread or dip. Grate an apple, carrot and/or other fruits and veggies over the rice cake. Colour and taste to tempt the Toddler to slow down and refuel!
Whole grain crackers - unsalted
Toddler's favorite spread or dip (we like peanut butter for this one!)
1 grape or 2 raisins or 2 Cheerios or 1 cube of cheese
Spread dip or spread on the crackers and top a cracker with 1 grape, another cracker with 2 raisins, another cracker with 2 Cheerios and yet another cracker with 1 cube of cheese. Make as many of these as you feel your Toddler will eat. It's the variety that will catch her eye and tempt her to at least nibble each cracker.
Meal Plan For a Toddler Who LOVES DAIRY
Toddlers are funny in that they choose foods that they will just eat. And just eat that. Many children, after the introduction of cheese turn into cheese-aholics! Don't worry they will grow out of it. Here is a menu in the meantime.
Grated mild cheese, cooked whole wheat pasta shells, tender cooked broccoli florettes, apple apricot juice
Cheerios, ripe banana sticks, yogurt mixed with pureed prunes
Firm bread or toast to dip into any baby food puree (vegetable or fruit), large curd cottage cheese, cooked green beans
Cream cheese on a mini muffin (or finger of banana or pumpkin bread (can be store bought), ripe peach cut up into piece they can hold, milk
Ripe pieces of avocado, Macaroni and cheese ( 1 cup cooked pasta mixed with 1/4 cup grated cheese, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, a pat of butter, a little milk and heated for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and butter), cup of milk or juice
Older Toddler Meal Plan
A sample breakfast, with 1/2 cup (4 ouces) of cereal, 1/4 cup of milk and 4 ounces of orange juice would give about 230 calories. If you instead gave a slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and jelly and 4 ouces of orange juice, your toddler would get over 250 calories.
For lunch, consider a 1/2 sandwich (one slice of bread), with 1 slice of lean luncheon meat (90 calories) and cheese (45 calories) . Or a tuna fish sandwich (add 1/2 tablespoon of mayo to the tuna to get 50 extra calories). Or a sliced and quartered hot dog. And water, juice or milk.
Dinner might include 1-2 ounces of chicken (75-100 calories) or beef (120-165 calories), 2-3 tablespoons of vegetables (50-75 calories), some whole wheat bread (40 calories) and 1/2 cup of milk (76 calories).
Plus, your child will likely need a couple of small snacks mid-morning and in the early afternoon. These might include 1/2 cup of milk (76 calories) or juice (60 calories), 2-3 tablespoons of fruit (50-75 calories), or a slice of cheese (45 calories). Alternatives might include some jello, pudding, or yogurt.
Vegetarian Meal Plan for A Toddler
For the Breastfed Baby
Warm Oatmeal+Applesauce mixed into the Oatmeal+Breastmilk
Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and grated carrots on top - drizzle with honey
Warm Whole Grain Pita with Sliced Bananas + Chopped Cooked Broccoli+ SautÃ©ed Spiced Tofu Cubes+ Breastmilk
Baked Apple Slices topped with Muesli & blueberries
noodles + vegetables+ breastmilk+ cheese cubes
Veggie & Cheese Omelet +Whole Grain Toast + Diced Peaches
Muffin with Cream Cheese & Fruit spread - cut into small sections; arrange with apple dices in the middle
Grilled Whole Grain Sandwich with Peanut Butter + Tomatoes, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Cucumbers with Yogurt Dipping Sauce+ Carrot Sticks & Dipping Sauce+ Milk or Yogurt Smoothie and/or Cheese Cubes + Breastmilk
Fruit Dices & Cheese cubes Milk or Water
Rice+ Vegetables + Fruit
The Nursing Toddler
Cow's Milk Optional
I despise that doctors (not all of them) inform mother's that introducing cow's milk is vital at the age of one. Are you serious? Not true. Not true in the slightest respect if you are breastfeeding. Babies only need your milk and be sure to laugh or brush off anything that anyone says about the need to introduce cow's milk into your child's diet.
Breastmilk has a higher fat content than whole cow's milk (needed for baby's brain growth), and all the nutrients of human milk are significantly more bioavailable than those of cow's milk because it is species specific (not to mention all the components of mother's milk that are not present in cow's milk).
There is no need to add cow's milk to your toddler's diet (or the equivalent nutrients from other milks or foods) as long as your baby is nursing at least 3-4 times per day.
This is a great tidbit from KellyMom.com: "Some toddlers are eating very few solids, or even no solids, at 12 months. This is not unusual and really depends on your child - there is quite a big variation. We like to see breastmilk making up the majority (around 75%) of baby's diet at 12 months. Some babies will be taking more solids by 12 months, but others will still be exclusively or almost-exclusively breastfed at this point. It is normal for baby to keep breastmilk as the primary part of his diet up until 18 months or even longer. An example of a nice gradual increase in solids would be 25% solids at 12 months, 50% solids at 18 months, and 80% solids at 24 months."
Meal Plan for the Breastfeeding Toddler
Â½ cup oatmeal with maple syrup
1 slice whole wheat toast with fruit spread
Â½ whole wheat bagel with margarine
Veggie burger on whole wheat bun with mustard and ketchup
1 cup steamed collard greens
Â¾ cup ready-to-eat cereal with Â½ cup blueberries
Â¾ cup tofu stir-fried with 1 cup vegetables
1 cup brown rice
Whole grain crackers with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Weekly Toddler Menu
Toddler Friendly Snacks
Need some healthy snack ideas? Try these the next time your toddler is hankering for a bite to eat:
Ants on a log - spread peanut butter on celery sticks and sprinkle them with raisins (Experts used to recommend waiting to serve peanuts until a child was age two or three - to help prevent a peanut allergy. But now, experts believe there may be no benefit to waiting that long. Talk with your pediatrician about when you should offer your tot peanuts and other allergenic foods, especially if food allergies run in your family.)
Whole-grain tortilla chips topped with veggies, salsa, and shredded cheese, alongside guacamole for dipping
Apple slices with string cheese or peanut butter (if your pediatrician says it's okay to introduce peanuts to your toddler now)
Frozen no-sugar-added fruit bars with a glass of milk
Berries topped with a smidge of low-fat frozen yogurt
Crinkle-cut carrot "chips" with hummus
Whole-wheat pita-bread triangles or baked wheat crackers with melted reduced-fat cheese for dipping
Dip a banana in yogurt, roll it in crushed cereal, and freeze it for a tasty frozen snack
Whole-wheat tortilla chips with bean dip
Low-fat yogurt topped with granola and fresh or dried fruit