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Nutrition Education For Feeding Toddlers

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on April 20, 2010

Nutrition Education For Feeding Toddlers

Feeding a toddler can be quite a challenging task. This is mainly because toddlers are picky eaters and they fuss over most of the food served to them. They not only hate trying new food but may not eat as much as they are supposed to.

Before you begin planning a diet for your toddler, here is what you need to know. Toddlers do not need to eat as much as you think they do.

Remember that children grow at a much slower rate than they did in their first year.

Additionally, the energy levels and appetites in toddlers are much less than in a one year old.

So, if your child is active, healthy and growing, he/she is likely to eat properly. An average toddler will require around 1300 calories per day. Bigger children may require more than this and younger children will require less.

The only time you need to worry is if your toddler isn’t gaining weight properly and isn’t quite active.

An over-restricted diet can also cause a whole lot of problems rather than doing good to your child.
Things that you shouldn’t worry about include:

•    When your toddler doesn’t seem to be eating a lot: as long as your toddler is gaining weight properly and is active and healthy, you can lay your worries to rest.

•    When your toddler eats only certain kinds of food like peanut butter, chicken nuggets, French fries, and so on.

•    When your toddler refuses to try anything new: in this case, you can try introducing new food in small portions; about a teaspoon or so till they acquire a taste for the newly introduced item. Many children may not accept a new food item until they eat it a few times.

•    When your child refuses to eat a balanced diet: most children this age do not like the idea of munching on nutritious food. They prefer junk food over balanced food.

Talk to your pediatrician and put your child on some vitamin supplements to overcome the nutritional shortcomings.

•    Do not worry if your child does not finish everything on his/her plate: you need to teach your child to realize when he/she is full and when he/she is not. Offer small portions to avoid wastage of food.

•    Do not worry if your child refuses to eat what you prepare for him/her. Keep things simple.

Avoid preparing a separate meal for your toddler every day.  Don’t be surprised if your child refuses “adult” food. Give him/her what he/she wants, but make sure it is healthy.

•    If your child is overweight, it may be a matter of concern to you. Instead of restricting your child’s intake of calories, ensure that he/she engages in some kind of physical activity to burn those extra calories. Make sure that your child is active.

Lastly, take your child to a pediatrician for regular checkups and consult with the doctor on the right food for your toddler.

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