As your little infant steps into the new era where he would learn to eat and drink on his own, it’s time for you as a parent to change your gears, leaving bottles behinds and pacing up your speed with your young one. Your child is growing at an incredible rate, so you need to pack all nutrients in your toddler’s mini meals. The toddler phase is full of intense physical and mental development; your toddler’s brain is in a process of taking up big challenges like walking and more intense talking, therefore a right combination of calories and nutrients is very important.
The toddler time is a period of transition, especially between the ages of 12 to 24 months. Your child learns to eat food as well as develop new tastes and textures. What he eats during this time will have an impact on his health, growth and development. In fact, healthy and balanced lifestyle at this age would not only have an impact in the short run but you would also be able to see the fruitful results later in his life. This also helps him in inculcating the habit of consuming healthy food.
Healthy child is a happy child, which makes healthy lifestyle and nutritional diet a top most priority. A balanced diet is a complete manageable package with different combinations of nutrients and calories which are essential for the overall development of your toddler. Therefore, it means setting a limit for bulky high-fiber foods, as well as including foods with healthy fats.
When compared with your diet, your toddler needs more nutritious food for supporting him with his size growth, developing stronger bones, building muscles and providing energy to explore the world around.
A balanced diet is a combination of four main food groups. Not necessary, that every meal should have all four combinations but, you have to make sure that either in the form of snacks or mini meals all four groups are covered. The foods necessary for your toddler are:
This is a complete combination of energy, vitamin B and calcium. It includes foods like bread, potatoes, rice. Higher fiber starchy food such as multigrain cereal or brown rice provides extra nutrients but since they are heavy to be digested by your toddler, it should be introduced gradually.
Fruits and vegetables are the best source of vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for the overall development. You have to motivate your toddler to consume the colorful plate of fruits and vegetables. Your toddler might prefer fruits over vegetables because of the sweet taste but you have to drag him towards vegetables also. Green vegetables are one of the best sources of iron and vitamin C, which helps in overall development of your child. Fruits like oranges, lemons are rich in vitamin C, whereas banana contains phosphorous and is essential for bones. You must add chickoo in your toddler’s diet as it is rich in minerals.
You should schedule iron and protein rich diet at least twice a day. The best way to introduce it is in the form of meat, fish, cereals, lentils, beans and many more. Iron is very essential for your toddler as it helps in the brain development. Green leafy vegetables are direct sources of iron and also help in developing the eye sight of your toddler. Peanuts can choke your child, so it is always advised to use alternates like peanut butter or ground it to the powdery form and mix it up with your toddler’s meal.
Dairy products are rich in calcium. Milk should be introduced twice a day as it helps strengthen bones and teeth. You should aim to restrict the quantity from 350 ml to 500 ml, if given at odd times it might hamper your child’s other meals. You must make sure to add cottage cheese to your kid’s diet.
You have to make sure that your toddler is completely hydrated during hot weather or after his play hours. For a healthy lifestyle, you should add 6 to 8 glasses of liquid in your toddler’s diet. Not necessary only water, but it could be juice or milk.
Some hacks to introduce a proper balanced diet to your child's meal:
You can make a small chart and record the quantity and time of consumption. Set small food goals for him; reward your toddler when a goal is reached.
If you find that your toddler is too fussy about food. Then, the only way is to bribe him with his favorite activities like, if you finish your meal I will take you to the garden or I will read an extra story to you tonight.
You should be a role model for your toddler. Set an example by introducing different fruits and vegetables in your diet and motivate your kid to do the same.