A balanced diet for toddlers

Toddlers use up lots of energy, and need a good balance of nutrients and protein for healthy growth.
You should aim to offer your child 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.

  • Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein such as nuts and 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, 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 to 4oz is enough. But give fewer milk drinks if your toddler is eating yogurt 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 so you need to keep foods from this food group to a minimum to prevent gaining too much weight.

  • Vitamin A & D supplement. Some young children don’t get enough vitamin A & D in their food. Consult your medical professional prior to giving your child vitamin supplements containing vitamins A & D, which is supports your child’s immune system and bone development.
Avoid meals that are high in fat and salt, and never give your child diet food. Low calorie foods are not suitable for toddlers. 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 Phillips AVENT Breast Milk Storage 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 need to offer a food quite a few times before your child will accept it. Don’t worry, this is quite common so persevere. Offer plenty of finger foods to your child, and give them a spoon to hold so they can start learning how to feed themselves. Gradually move from mashed to chopped foods to encourage your little one to chew.

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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