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Nutrition Foods For Toddlers

Updated on November 11, 2008

Nutrition And Toddlers

Making sure that your toddler gets the proper nutrition his or her body needs is important. At the same time it is not always easy to incorporate the healthy grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables and vitamins that their growing bodies need into each meal. Many toddlers do not eat as much as we might think they should. They will eat a great breakfast but throughout the day it may seem like they eat less and less. By dinner time they may eat a few tiny bits or nothing at all. This is normal. Your toddler will not eat 3 full meals a day. The fact is that toddlers should NOT EAT 3 full meals a day. They DO NEED at least 1000 calories per day according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) .

Toddlers do not eat the same size portions as adults, The correct serving size is 1/4 of an adult serving per year of age. Next time you try you sit down with them for a meal use the 1/4 measurement and you will see how much a toddler should actually be eating. They do not really need or want any more than that.

Milk should always be given with each meal. Breakfast lunch and dinner. This is of course a great source of calcium that is needed for strong and healthy bones. If your toddler does not always finish their milk given at breakfast then you need to give him or her cheese or yogurt for a snack. If they will not eat any meats with lunch you can try feeding them tofu bites with cheerio or granola crumbs sprinkled on it as a snack. Whatever they do not finish try and make up for it by giving them different foods that provide the same nutrients.

A toddler that is 32 inches in height should get the following each day::

2 to 3 cups of calcium - foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding

4 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables - (a serving is 1 tablespoon per year of age) 1 of the 4 servings needs to be high in vitamin C and another should be high in vitamin A

4 servings of grains - foods like breads, rice and cereal. 1 should be an iron-fortified baby cereal. Other foods are like 1/4 cup of pasta or 1/4 slice of bread. Wheat bread is best. White bread contains nothing nutritious.

2 servings of proteins - foods like meat, beans, eggs, tofu, and peanut butter. A nice serving of protein should be given at each meal. 1 serving here is equal to 1/2 ounce.

Things To Try With The Picky Eater

Toddlers can be picky when it comes to eating the right foods. Sometimes just changing things up a bit and offering them new foods to try helps a lot. They sometimes get bored eating the same foods each day. Try and mix it up for them. Let them try some thinly sliced cucumber with a little bit of salt on it for a snack or cantaloupe for something sweet instead of cookies or cakes.

It is important however not to overwhelm them with too many new foods at once. If that happens they will be less likely to try new foods in the future. When they are willing to try new foods be sure and give them praise for it.

Other tips for picky eaters are not to insist that they finish all of their meal before allowing them to eat dessert. Instead try serving the dessert with the meal. Give them their food in small portions on a small plate. This allows them to ask for more when they want it. One thing a pediatrician told me to try for toddlers that just push the plate away and refuse to eat is to stop having their food prepared for them. Or just let them think that you didn't fix any for them. You sit down to eat like normal and when they see this happen they will always ask where is my food at and will want to eat also. They are more likely to eat once you allow them to ask for it or to tell you they want it.

Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacks for toddlers are important. Foods like candy, cakes, sugary foods and caffeine should not be given as snacks. Pre packaged foods are not nutritious either and should not be given at all. They contain too many artificial ingredients and additives. Instead of going with the pre packaged foods try using a grinder and make your own baby foods. It is much better for them. Plus they will like it much more..

Nutritious snacks like apple sauce, graham crackers and granola are best. Along with fresh fruits, yogurts, pudding, jello, trail mixes, or raisins. Also celery sticks and peanut butter, fruit salads or smoothies are good.


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    • How 2 be healthy profile image

      How 2 be healthy 7 years ago from at the moment: Thailand

      hmmm, picky toddlers? a big ego in such a young age? lol. . . well i think you're right with the boredom thing, and mixing up new things, preparing them nicely and with love should help, even toddler's eyes are eating along...nice hub

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      most difficult to give food to picky eaters..nice hub