You will have no doubt realised that getting the right balance of food groups correct can be a daunting task for some parents. Important questions that go through parents minds include is it ok to give my child chocolate? Can I give them snacks everyday? How do I know when they are getting enough to eat? These questions and more will be answered in this article.
Bringing up a child is one of the most important tasks any human being can do. It is one of the main functions we are brought up to do. Therefore it is important that we try and provide our children with the best we can manage and that includes providing them with the right mix of foods.
A toddler’s diet is not too dissimilar to our own. They basically need three main meals a day and as they are growing they need to supplement this with snacks.
Breakfast should include a food such as porridge. This contains important carbohydrates and lets your toddler slowly release energy throughout the day. It is also very low in fats and as such they can eat as much as they want. Various companies do their own range of baby breakfast cereals which are similar to porridge and may contain fruit flavours through them. These may contain lots of hidden sugars which your child does not necessarily require and are a lot more expensive than ordinary fine rolled oats. It’s all a matter of taste and preference. Milk can be added to both to ensure your child gets their all important daily amount of calcium.
Between breakfast and lunch you can give your child a fruit or vegetable based snack such a banana or apple or pear slices. You could also try some dried fruit such as sultanas or raisons which will help their hand eye co-ordination in picking them up and eating them. Raw carrot chunks and celery sticks are also a good alternative.
Lunch for toddlers
It is important that your child receives the entire important food group at both lunch and dinner time so depending on your lifestyle you need to choose what will be the main meal of the day either lunch or dinner. Lunch if not the main meal of the day could consist of something simple such as scrambled egg with cheese and toast or homemade soup and bread. Sandwiches are also good and you can try various fillings such as meat and cheese or tuna and cucumber. Remember and provide your child with a drink which they can sip on during their meal as it is important to keep their hydration levels up.
After lunch you could offer some more fruit or a yoghurt or fromage frais.
Again between lunch and dinner offer fruit or vegetables as a snack.
Dinner if chosen to be the main meal of the day should contain protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. Give your child lots of vegetables with their dinner. Children love peas, sweet potato, sweet corn and will almost undoubtedly eat any vegetable if it mashed up with others. What you give your child to eat just now will shape their eating habits for years to come.
Fish and meats should be soft and tender. There are plenty of baby gravies and sauces you can add to add taste and flavour to your foodstuffs. Baby pasta is also available which is in small pieces which your baby can easily digest.
Be adventurous when making baby food. Just because you don’t like a particular food don’t make your child averse to it. A tin of chopped tomatoes, some chopped up vegetables and bits of chicken or mince and your child will love it! At least by making your own food you get to know exactly what you are putting into it. If you have ever made your child food and then bought baby jars…do you never wonder why everything is orange. Was the food you made ever the same colour? Did it not make you stop and think what exactly was in the shop bought food you bought?
I am not decrying shop bought food but it is so much more rewarding to make your own. It also makes a lot of other parents envious as you have taken the time and effort to do so. Shop bought food does come in very handy and every parent should have some jars stored away in their cupboards for emergencies but try and limit it to such.
Chocolate has no real place in a baby’s life and it is really personal choice whether you give it to your child or not. There is nothing wrong with giving the odd piece here and there but try and not make it a regular occurrence. This is the same for other sweets and treats.
Try and keep your child’s diet as natural and pure as possible. Do not add salt to your child’s food but use other herbs and spices to flavour it. Think of all the rewards your child gives you when they eat all your food up and have a big happy smile after it!
Alan Murray runs a parenting website at www.baby-names.tv
Related Resource: Stop Feeding Your Kids Junk!