Many parents who’ve weaned their baby know it’s not all fun and cutesy photos of messy-faced babies.
It can be difficult, littered with setbacks and your baby throwing an apoplectic rage fit every time they so much as see a high chair.
Mealtime trickery and battles continue into toddlerhood , and beyond sometimes. One question which crops up again and again is “is my child eating enough?”
Toddlers, according to Kidspot , are hard to monitor because of how they process food, grow and eat.
A toddler’s growth is considerably slower than a baby’s, so they no longer need the same calorific intake.
Not only that, but toddlers also tend to regulate their food intake over the course of several days. So, they may eat a lot on day, but then eat less the next and this in fact all evens out.
But even with knowing this, the worry can still remain so, to give you an idea of what an “ideal” food day is for a toddler, Kidspot have mapped it out.
One trap which is easy to fall into is giving your little one a bottle before food.
Instead of filling them up on their first milk, offer them some solid food like a healthy breakfast biscuit two tablespoons of oats served with milk or natural yoghurt.
If your toddler is really hungry then you may add ½ -1 piece of fresh fruit or ½ – 1 slice of wholemeal or wholegrain toast with avocado or 100 percent nut spread (provided they are not allergic).
Egg on toast is another nutritious breakfast option.
Kids love snacks – all adults know this – and these are important in providing kids with the calories they need.
However, try to leave at least two hours in between eating either meals or snacks so kids grow up knowing there’s a time and a place for food, as well as leaving them enough time to feel hungry.
Good snack ideas are a small cup of chopped fruit, a cheese slice or stick or cup of plain yoghurt.
This is a great opportunity to get your child used to savoury veg,
Kidspot suggest one or half a sandwich with a protein-rich filling such as tuna, chicken breast, egg or turkey, and you can accompany this with some chopped up vegetables.
Using leftovers from dinner is also a good way of giving a nutritious lunch – portions should equal the size of a bar of soap.
Aim to offer a small serve of milk after the meal and be prepared to keep any leftover lunch options for afternoon tea.
Fruit can be offered as a dessert, but isn’t necessary.
Again, try to not fill your kid up in the afternoon, and aim to leave two hours between foods. So, if your child has tea at 6pm, their last snack should be about 4pm.
You can keep it light with a couple of crackers and cheese, chopped up veg and dip such as hummus or a small quarter or half a sandwich.
It’s important to bear in mind that kids don’t need fancy dinners with several components.
A toddler only needs 50-70g of cooked protein and a half to one cup of salad or vegetables.
They may also not need a large dinners if they have already consumed a hot meal at preschool. If this is the case, then a slice of toast with some baked beans or an egg may do the job.
Wait until after they’ve eaten to give them their milk.