We’ve gathered the most useful expert tips on toddler nutrition and summarized them into our top 10.
- Stick to a routine: Sticking to regular meal and snack times provides structure and can help your child be more in tune with her hunger.
- Get creative: Get your creative juices flowing and be playful with foods – serve sandwiches in fun shapes using cookie cutters, or form foods into animals or funny faces on your child’s plate.
- Variety: Offer a large variety of foods in many shapes and colours to let your child appreciate different foods and textures. Toddlers are very visual, so this can also help stimulate learning.
- Messy is okay: Encourage independent feeding. Toddlers like to do things themselves and can be especially assertive at this stage. Learn to tolerate age-appropriate messiness – some food may end up on the floor, but this is okay!
- Eat as a family: set a good example and make eating family time. Try as much as possible to avoid distractions such as the TV or tablets during meals.
- Involve your child: Bring your toddler to the market, let her choose foods, recipes and help you in the kitchen. Peaking her interest at a young age will help her learn lifelong healthy eating habits. Toddlers can help with cooking by adding ingredients into batters and salads, stirring, etc.
- Keep your child hydrated: Offer water to drink most of the time and limit juices to no more than 125 mL (½ cup) per day.
- Milk: Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. Offer your toddler, after she is 1 year of age, up to 500 mL (2 cups) of whole milk per day, but not more than this as it will fill up her little tummy and not leave room for other nutritious foods. Growing-up milks, such as Go & Grow by Similac™ Step 3 toddler drink, are also an excellent option to get the nutrients of milk plus added DHA.
- Try, try, and try again: If your toddler is picky and refuses to try new foods, don’t give up! It can take more than 10 tries to get your toddler to accept a new food.
- Dip it: Toddlers are more likely to eat vegetables and fruits when offered with a dip. So get creative with dips: try pairing apple slices with vanilla yogurt or almond butter; carrots and mini cucumbers with hummus, etc.
Use these top 10 nutrition tips for children to establish healthy eating habits at an early age.