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Nutrition Guide for Toddlers with Sample Meal Ideas

Nutrition Guide for Toddlers with Sample Meal Ideas
Babies grow at a lightning swiftness - 3 inches or so every three months. A toddler, in contrast, grows at a much slower pace - only 3-5 inches in an entire year. While growth slows somewhat, nutrition remains a top priority.
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  • Children in their toddler and preschool year are very impressionable, which makes it the perfect time to help them form good eating habits. The toddler years are a time of transition, especially between 12-24 months, when they're learning to eat table food and accepting new tastes and textures. Children are never too young to establish a foundation of good nutrition and healthy eating habits.

    One of the most common frustrating experiences that parents of toddlers deal with is trying to get their child to eat healthy foods. Make mealtime enjoyable and pleasant for you and your child and not a source of constant struggle. To help make sure your child eats well, do not allow him or her to drink too many beverages at meals such as milk, juice, or water so that they are not hungry for solid foods.

    Food provides the energy and nutrients a baby or toddler needs to be healthy. No doubt for a baby, milk has all the necessary vitamins and minerals but cereals, juices, grain, wheat, rice, fruits, vegetables etc, plays an important role in the growth of health.

    We often hear a very Common question from MOMS
    “I worry that my child is not getting enough to eat?
    Answer, Children will generally eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Young children don't need a whole lot of food and will generally get what their body needs”.
    Sometimes nutritious snacks are more work, but not always. There are plenty of healthy, no-hassle snacks out there. Toddlers should be feeding themselves, so think simple, finger-friendly, bite-size foods like:

    1. low-sugar breakfast cereals
    2. fresh fruit thinly sliced or cut into small pieces
    3. whole-grain crackers and mini-muffins
    4. cheese cut into thin slices or shredded

  • Nutrition guide for “Six to nine months old”:
    Now that your child is drinking 24-32 ounces of milk or formula and eating at least four tablespoons of cereal, it is time to move on to vegetables and fruits. Tart with mild tasting pureed and strained vegetables such as squash, green beans, or carrots. Offer 1 tablespoon to start & gradually increase to 4-5 tablespoons, one to two times per day. You may also offer 2-4 ounces of 100% fruit juice, mixing one part juice with two parts water.

  • Nutrition guide for “Nine to twelve months old”:
    During this phase you will begin to offer meats, soft table foods, and finger foods. Start with one to two tablespoons of ground or strained cooked meat and increase to three to four tablespoons per day. Due to its very different taste and texture.
    Offer dries cheerio, soft fruits and vegetables cut in bite-sized pieces, pastas, or crackers. As your child approaches his first birthday, his day should revolve around a normal eating schedule with meals & snacks.

    Nutrition guide for “One –two years old”:
    Now  your toddler needs about 1,000 calories a day to meet his needs for growth, energy, and good nutrition. Your toddler should now be on an eating schedule similar to the rest of the family, with three meals and two nutritious snacks per day. Fruit juice consumption should be limited to 4-6 ounces per day and still be diluted with water.
    Your toddler needs foods from the same four basic nutrition groups that you do:












  • 1. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs
    2. Dairy products
    3. Fruits and vegetables
    4. Cereal grains, potatoes, rice, breads, pasta

    Sample One Day Menu
    This menu is planned for a one-year-old child

    For Breakfast:
    Half slice toast with half teaspoon butter
    One cooked egg (not more than 3 eggs per week)
    Half cup whole milk (with cereal)
    Add to cereal one of the following:
    Half  banana, sliced
    Two large sliced strawberries

  • For Morning Snack:
    Four ounces fruit juice
    One tablespoons cream cheese or peanut butter (spread)
    One cup whole milk

    For Lunch:
    Peanut butter or jelly sandwich
    Half cup cooked green vegetables or two tablespoons cooked broccoli
    Melon 1/4 cup

    For An Afternoon Snack:
    Half ounces cubed cheese
    Muffin 1/4

    For Dinner:
    Chopped chicken 1-1/2 ounces
    Two tablespoons baked potato with 2 teaspoons butter
    Half cup cooked yellow or orange vegetables.
    Half slice whole wheat bread
    Half cup whole milk

    For Snack:
    Two or Three whole grain crackers
    Half cup canned fruit

    Most toddlers do well with three meals and two or three snacks a day perhaps mid -morning, mid-afternoon, and again after dinner, if necessary.
    To begin planning your toddler's diet, it can help to begin with the idea that toddlers need a lot less to eat than you think.

    Avoid common mistakes, such as:
    • Drinking more than 16-24 ounces of milk each day.
    • Forcing your child to eat when he isn't hungry.
    • Drinking more than 4-6 ounces of juice each day.
    • Letting your child fill up on sweets and snacks.
    • The only real time that you should worry is if your child isn't gaining weight well or isn't very active. Keep in mind an overly restricted diet with too much milk and juice might also be a problem


  • *Please email comments and suggestions.

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