A balanced diet for toddlers

Toddlers use up lots of energy, and need a good balance of nutrients and protein for healthy growth.
Offer your little one a varied diet that contains all of the five food groups:
  • Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods including yams give energy and should make up the main part of each meal. Choose some white and some wholegrain options.
  • Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim to offer fruit at breakfast and vegetables and fruit at the other two main meals. Toddlers should also have 5 or more portions of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit per day.
  • Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein such as nuts, lentils. These foods also provide iron and zinc. Include foods from this group twice a day and offer oily fish once or twice per week.
  • Milk and cheese and yogurt. Offer 3 servings a day of these foods. Milk is still important, but a child over 1 year old needs less than a baby. 3 cups of milk of about 3-4oz is enough. However give fewer milk drinks if your toddler is eating yoghurt and cheese. Bottles of milk should be discontinued from about 12 months of age. From a year, fresh, whole cow’s milk can be given instead of formula, unless you are continuing to breastfeed.
  • Foods high in fat and/or sugar. Toddlers naturally like these foods although you do not need to avoid these foods you need to keep them to a minimum. Always offer a dessert at the two main meals but do not allow these foods to replace other nutritious foods from the other food groups.
  • Vitamin A & D supplement. Some young children do not get enough Vitamin A & D from their food. Vitamins A & D can help support a child’s immune system and bone development. Consult your healthcare professional prior to giving your child Vitamin A & D supplements.

Avoid meals that are high in fat and salt and don’t give your toddler diet or food. Low calorie foods are not suitable for toddlers as they need extra calories to fuel growth. Convenience foods and ready meals are best given sparingly, unless they are specially made for young children. Healthy, wholesome family food is the best option. It’s nutritious and economical, allowing you to make large batches of meals and then separate them into individual portions for storage in the refrigerator and freezer.

The Philips AVENT Breast Milk System can be used for storing and serving food.

Introducing new tastes

Keeping it interesting and varied is the key. Introduce new food to your child in small portions. Let them try a couple of mouthfuls of something new instead of filling their whole plate with it and expecting them to finish everything. You may well need to offer a food quite a few times before your little one will accept it. This is quite common so persevere. Offer plenty of finger foods to your child and always allow them to decide when they have eaten enough.

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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