Foods to avoid and limit for toddlers

In the First 1000 Days, you have the opportunity to make healthy choices for your toddler which will improve their eating habits and health for life. Although they may be growing fast and becoming little people, remember they are not mini adults! So there are still some foods that you should limit in their diet.

Salt — should still be limited in your toddler’s meals. Reducing salt intake can help to protect your toddler from developing high blood pressure in later life. The maximum amount of salt that 1-3 year olds should be getting is 2g per day compared to 6g for adults. Don’t add salt into foods as they may already contain hidden salt and take out a portion of any family meals for your toddler before adding salt.

Processed foods — should be limited as much as possible. This includes fish fingers, chicken nuggets, frozen pizza or chips, frozen burgers and ready meals. These can all be high in fat and salt. Fresh foods such as fillets of fish, chunks of fresh chicken or homemade burgers are better options and will improve your child’s eating habits and health for life.

Whole or chopped nuts and popcorn — should not be given under the age of 5 as there is a risk of choking.

Raw eggs — or foods made with raw eggs such as mousse should be avoided as they can contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

High mercury foods should be avoided in toddler’s diets. Although these aren’t something that would be very common in toddlers’ or Irish diets – shark, marlin and swordfish are the fish to avoid! Tuna also has some mercury so fresh tuna should be eaten no more than once per week or tinned tuna no more than twice per week.

First 1000 Days Team

Our expert team of dietitians and nutritionists have created lots of articles, tips, advice and recipes all about the importance of good nutrition to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start in life.

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