Toddlers need a wide variety of healthy foods. Now your toddler is 12 months old, they should be having 3 meals a day. They may also need 2 healthy weaning snacks in between (for example fruit, vegetable sticks, toast, bread or plain yoghurt).
Remember, they don’t need salt or sugar added to their food or cooking water. Children shouldn’t eat salty foods as it isn’t good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay.
Healthy eating tips :
It is important for children to have a healthy diet. Eating the right foods will ensure they have all the nutrients they need. Children should be offered three meals and two snacks each day.
– Always give your child breakfast. Good choices include: eggs and toast/crumpets/pancakes, porridge with fruit or fortified cereal with milk.
– Have regular mealtimes so that your child does not get too hungry
– Eat as a family to encourage your child to try new foods
– Do not make mealtimes too long, 20 – 30 minutes is long enough
-Always offer a pudding after lunch and dinner. Do not withhold a pudding as punishment if your child does not eat their meal. Good pudding choices include; yoghurt, fruit, custard and rice pudding.
– Allow children to feed themselves – offering finger foods to young children can encourage them to eat
-Try to make meals interesting and colourful.
Fruit and Vegetables
It is recommended that your child has at least 3-5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day
- A portion is the amount that will fit in the palm of your child’s hand
- Giving a variety of colours will provide a variety of nutrients
- Beans and pulses are counted as a portion but only once per day
- Try to serve vegetables with each meal
- Give vegetable sticks and fruit as a snack
- Vegetables can be blended into soups and sauces to increase intake
- Do not overcook vegetables as this reduces the vitamin content
Starchy carbohydrates should be served with every meal.
- These include; bread, pasta, rice,potatoes and cereals.
- Starchy carbohydrates provide energy, vitamins and minerals
- Gradually introduce wholegrains to increase their fibre intake
- Fortified breakfast cereals make a great breakfast
- Choose cereals -avoid high sugar varieties
- Give breadsticks and small sandwiches as snacks
- Potato wedges make good finger foods for small children
- Vary potatoes to make them more interesting – try mashed, boiled, baked
- Pitta bread, rice, wraps, yam and spaghetti are also great sources of starchy
- Include foods high in protein twice a day. Meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and tofu are all great sources of protein.
- Protein is essential for growing children
- Meat and fish are good sources of protein but vegetarian sources are good too
- Lentils, beans and pulses are high in both protein and fibre
- Have eggs or beans on toast
- Use Houmous as a dip
- Peanut and other nut butters provide protein but whole nuts are not recommended for small children as they pose a choking risk
- Sausages, , burgers and chicken nuggets are high in protein but should only be used occasionally as they can be high in salt and saturated fat.
- Choose lean meat and remove the skin to reduce saturated fat intake.
Dairy products are important for growing strong bones and your child should have three servings a day. Full fat milk should be used for children under two years. After this you may switch to using semi-skimmed milk. Skimmed milk should not be given to children under the age of five.
- Add milk to cereal and give milk-based puddings like rice pudding or custard
- Give cheese and crackers as a snack
- Put cheese spread in sandwiches
- Give yoghurt as a snack or dessert
- Give your child milk as a drink instead of sugary drinks
- Milk and other drinks should be served in a cup after 12 months as drinking from a bottle can damage teeth and affect speech
One serving of dairy:
- 120mls milk
- A match-box sized piece of cheese (20-25g)
- A small pot of yoghurt (125g)