Feed­ing your tod­dler does not have to be dif­fi­cult

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

Some­times feed­ing your tod­dler can be a night­mare.

From the food thrown on the floor, to the tantrums and ‘‘NO!’’ screamed from the high­chair, it’s not an easy task to feed your child. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to know that it’s just a phase, and your tod­dler is too ac­tive to want to sit down and eat a meal – and that’s fine. Be­ing a picky eater is part of what it means to be a tod­dler. Be­lieve it or not, there are devel­op­men­tal rea­sons for your tod­dler’s lack of ap­petite. Be­tween the ages of one and three, it’s com­pletely nor­mal for them to turn their nose up at food. Af­ter a year prior of rapid growth, tod­dlers gain weight more slowly. Be­cause of this, they need less food and would pre­fer to snack whilst ex­plor­ing rather than sit still and feast on what is con­sid­ered a meal too large for them to han­dle at once. Or in their eyes, is ‘‘yucky’’. ‘‘But they need their fruit and veg­eta­bles!’’ you say. Yes they do, but tod­dlers have er­ratic eat­ing habits so you should aim for a nu­tri­tion­ally balanced week, not a balanced day. They may eat only fruit one day, and veg­eta­bles the next. Tod­dlers from one to three years need 1,300 calo­ries a day, but they may not get this ev­ery day and it’s noth­ing that should be wor­ried about. The best thing you can do for your tod­dler is of­fer them a test­ing plate, some­thing they can graze on through­out the day and will still gain the nu­tri­tional value. This could in­clude fill­ing an ice cube tray, muffin tray or con­tainer with com­part­ments with nu­tri­tional taster food. Av­o­cado, ba­nana, raisins, boiled egg, fin­ger sand­wiches, car­rot, cel­ery, ce­real or any­thing small and tasty are very good ways in which your tod­dler can stay full of en­ergy. They can pick at it in their own time and wont feel the de­mands of sit­ting still. You’re not a bad par­ent for ca­ter­ing to the needs of your child, or let­ting them choose what they would like to eat. Dur­ing this fussy stage in their lives, the best you can do is give them choices and va­ri­ety to en­able them to eat on their own terms.

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