Nutritional guidelines for toddlers

Because of their small size and slow growth a toddler's appetite is small. There will be plenty of times when he's just not hungry. It's important not to make a fuss if he refuses to eat. He'll eat when he's hungry and the more you force, the stronger he refuses. A toddler's eating is erratic and unpredictable but viewed over several days his intake will meet his daily average needs. Therefore, don't worry if on some days he refuses to eat anything, it will be made up for elsewhere.

Coping with picky, erratic eating can be exasperating even in light of your intellectual approach to it. To help deal with it, understand your role well and know you have carried it out the best you can. Your job is to offer a wide variety of wholesome foods in a non-pressured supportive setting, on a regular, predictable schedule. Other little things you can do to help encourage your toddler to eat are:

  • present new foods at least twice a week
  • offer new foods along with old favorites
  • serve small, toddler size portions, too much on the plate can make him feel overwhelmed
  • foods should be easy to chew, toddlers can't chew tough things
  • food should be bite size
  • toddlers like colorful foods
  • try changing the venue of his meals- serve lunch in the playhouse, snack as an afternoon tea party
  • toddlers enjoy playing with their food, it is a part of learning about it, within reason allow this to happen
  • let them help in food preparation
  • grow a vegetable garden 
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