Proper Toddler Nutrition Sets the Standard for Healthy Eating
Focusing on appropriate toddler nutrition can ensure healthy, happy youngsters while instilling a lifetime appreciation for a variety of foods. While it may sound easy to get a toddler to simply eat throughout the day, it can be an overwhelming challenge at times.
After the age of 1, toddlers begin to experience a natural drop in their appetites. A toddler’s increase in activity but decrease in food consumption can even be confusing.
But it is during this time that his or her growth has slowed, thus explaining the lesser desire for food. However, there are some ways parents can combat the challenges and provide proper toddler nutrition.
Picky Eaters Challenge Toddler Nutrition
One of the most common problems parents face when dealing with toddler nutrition is the evolution of a picky eater. It is true that most toddlers fall into this category at some point as they are just learning about various foods and beginning to develop food preferences. A little one’s taste in food can be truly unpredictable. What they love this week may be something they hate next week.
According to HealthyChildren.org, this phase of pickiness is completely normal and there are some things that may help keep consistency in toddler nutrition.
The first tip is a reminder for parents to be patient with their toddler. Frustration and pressure may create the opposite effect when encouraging a picky eater to try something.
Serving finger or small table foods that a child can feed themselves may also work well. Independence is extremely important to toddlers and this helps them feel as though they are doing something on their own, without the force of adults. Caregivers should make sure these foods are not choking hazards by keeping them small, easy to chew pieces.
Another helpful tip for ensuring optimal toddler nutrition is to offer new foods during the first part of the day before an active toddler becomes tired and agitated.
Other suggestions found at WebMD include getting the child involved in food preparation and offering a variety of choices. In addition, bribery and pleading tactics should never be used to convince a picky toddler to eat. Ensuring toddler nutrition can be a tricky skill to master.
Healthy Snacks Are An Important Part of Toddler Nutrition
Families are busier than ever these days and this can make it easy to grab pre-packaged snacks that are full of empty calories. But healthy snacks are key to balanced toddler nutrition. In fact, these choices are very important as they fill in the gaps between meal time.
WhatToExpect.com gives several examples of nutritious snack time options. Bright colors equal foods packed with beneficial nutrients. These include snacks like bright blueberries, red ripe strawberries and deep colored oranges.
Other ideas include string cheese, graham crackers, turkey cheese roll ups, apple slices with peanut butter and low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit. Optimal choices should include combinations of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
Establishing early healthy eating habits will ensure proper toddler nutrition as well as encouraging a lifetime of nutritious food choices.
Related: Allergy Free Easy Family Meals