Trying new foods can be fun, there is so much to love, so much to experiment with and so much to learn, but when you’re a toddler, experiencing all these new tastes and textures can also be overwhelming
We took a crash course in toddler nutrition 101 from the baby and child feeding experts and super moms at Happy Family Organics to learn how to get the best nutrition for our little ones without turning mealtimes into torture.
Kids know when they’ve had enough
While there are guidelines and expectations for how much your toddler should be eating, the only way to know if your toddler has actually had enough to eat is to ask them.
“An appropriate serving size for children 3 years of age is about one-half an adult serving, and a 4-5-year-old might need slightly more. Of course, daily intake is going to vary depending on your child’s stage of growth and development, age, appetite, and activity. It is important to honour a child’s hunger and satiety cues, since only they know when they’re truly hungry or satisfied!” say the moms at Happy Family Organics.
Of course, this also means sometimes offering food more than three times a day depending on when your child is hungry and how much they eat at a sitting.
Kids need to know what they’re eating
A quick search on the internet for recipes for hidden veggie meals can turn up thousands of recipes. However, the. Happy Family Organics family warn that this could interfere with your child’s relationship with veggies. Because your child doesn’t know the cheesy mash they’re enjoying is actually cauliflower mash, they will continue to think they don’t like cauliflower when they actually enjoy it very much.
“It’s important for children to see, taste and understand what they’re eating, so if we want them to learn to eventually love carrots or broccoli, they need to know they’re eating carrots or broccoli. Try serving a wide variety of veggies every day prepared in different forms – you can try raw, roasted, with or without dipping sauces or cooked with different seasonings,” they say.
What’s the best way to make snackS nutritious
Children need the same nutrients as adults do, but in smaller portions. Because many children already eat so little, it is important to make sure their snacks are as nutritious as possible.
According to Happy Family Organics, the best way to do this is to consider snacks as smaller meals and avoiding ‘snack food’ that isn’t as nutritious.
“Combining something like a fruit or veggie with a source of protein is a great between-meal snack for little ones, such as fresh fruit with a cheese stick or texture-appropriate veggies dipped in hummus. You can also save any leftovers from the previous meal that your child didn’t finish and offer them again as a snack. If you notice your little one isn’t very hungry when it comes to mealtime, it may be a sign you need to cut back on snacks or how much is offered at snack time.”
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