It is important to recognise that toddlers are heavily influenced by their parents’ behaviour, including their attitude towards food. You must lead by example to encourage your toddler to make healthy food choices now and later in life. For example, many parents that do not like to eat or cook fish themselves have young children that do not eat fish. If you are concerned about bones being present in fish ask your butcher/fish monger to ensure they are removed and explain it is for a young child. Encourage your toddler to eat fresh fish twice a week, one of which should be oily (e.g. salmon, trout, & mackerel) as it contains many important nutrients including vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Toddlers should have 3 small meals a day and 2-3 healthy snacks. Include lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, dairy and wholegrain cereals in their daily diet. They should also drink 6-8 cups of fluid per day, preferably water. No more than a pint of milk should be offered during the day, as it can cause them to feel full and leave little room for other important foods. Exposing your toddler to a wide variety of healthy meals and snacks can encourage them to make healthier food choices.
Here are some healthy snack ideas that both you and your toddler can enjoy together!
- A variety of fruit
- Vegetable sticks and hummus
- Yogurts (natural yogurt blended with frozen berries)
- Cheese on crackers
- Steamed salmon and cream cheese pate on oatcakes
- Potato cakes (potato, egg, meat of your choice e.g. cooked salmon or chicken blended together and grilled)
- Blended chickpea and banana on brown toast
- Rice cakes that have no added salt