There’s no doubt that when babies become toddlers, everything changes – they’re more mobile and engaged, their motor skills are developing at a rate of knots and whether speaking just a little or a lot, they soon start to communicate their preferences and dislikes to you. And that includes what they want to eat.
The Organic Cookery School offers a number or practical courses which support parents in the next stage of meeting their child’s changing nutritional needs. As well as recipe ideas, these courses are as much about how to deal with the challenges you may face and how to get your child’s relationship to food off to the best possible start.
So how much and what should my toddler be eating?
Whatever our age, we all need variety and balance in our diets, to ensure we are getting the right mix of nutrition. Toddlers tend to have smaller tummies, so appropriate portion sizes are important to make sure they aren’t filling up on just a few food types:
The amount of food your child will want to eat at any given time will depend on so many factors – are they having a growth spurt? Have they just done a big poo? Are they tired? How much exercise have they had today? So offer small portions and top up with seconds, if they are still hungry.
Each meal should offer a mix of the main food groups:
Starchy/Carbohydrate rich foods (up to 5 portions a day)
Fruit and Vegetables (aim for at least 5 portions a day)
Dairy/calcium rich foods (aim for three portions a day)
Protein foods (aim for two portions a day, or 3 if vegetarian)
Over the next few blog posts we’re going to explore each food group in more detail and give examples of recipes which are perfect for toddler tums.
Our Cheesy Spinach and Apple Muffins are a great mix of dairy, veg, fruit and protein and a hit with our little foodie testers.
A note on drinks and what foods to avoid:
During the day time, your toddler will need to remain hydrated and water should be offered frequently from a cup or beaker. They can also drink full fat cow’s milk from one year and need approx 300ml a day. Squashes, sweetened juices and fizzy drinks should not be given to children and can impact dental health. We have created some toddler friendly whole fruit/veg smoothies, which are a great way to boost your families’ vitamin and mineral intake, but bear in mind that, like milk, they can be quite filling. Try a small (150ml) portion of smoothie at breakfast with some toast and scrambled egg for a great start to your toddler's day.
Avoid, raw or very lightly cooked eggs, high salt foods (or the addition of salt), whole nuts (until the age of 5), low calorie or diet foods, raw fish or meat (eg sushi/steak tartare).