Feeding Toddlers: Points to Remember
Toddlers are energetic and independent. They are learning their boundaries and learning from you.
Toddler Eating 101
- Growth slows the second year of life: 1/2 to 1/3 as much as the first year. So, your toddler won't be as hungry and will eat less overall.
- A toddler's appetite is erratic and sporadic. Don't expect consistency!
- Toddlers want to be independent, and then again sometimes they don't. Generally, your child will want to feed him or herself, although sometimes will look for your help.
- Your child needs to be in control of his or her eating. They need to make a mess!
- Your child needs to learn to feed him or herself and needs to feel successful.
- Remember, a child's serving is smaller than an adult's: 1/4 to 1/3 of an adult size portion or approximately 1 Tbsp. of each food per year of age.
- Serving Guidelines:
- Grains and Cereals: 7 or more per day
- Fruit and Vegetables: 5 or more per day
- Milk products: 2 per day
- Protein: 2 per day (3-4 ounces for toddlers)
- Do not cater to your child; do not become a short-order cook.
- Do not pressure, force, cajole, persuade or trick your child to try to get him or her to eat. These techniques not only do not work, they eventually backfire.
- Have your child come to the table for 5 to 10 minutes for meals.
How much should my child eat?
If you let your children decide how much to eat, offer them nutritious food and do not let them fill up on junk food, they will naturally regulate the amount they eat. They will grow to the height and weight they should be, and are much more likely to be free of eating issues and weight problems as adults.