Healthy Eating for Toddlers

Healthy nutrition is so important for growth and development in toddlers. However, getting your little one to gobble up the nutritious meal you have lovingly prepared is not always so easy. Your toddler has most likely become a discerning young character with the potential to be quite picky.

What nutrients does my toddler require?
Carbohydrates, protein and fats are macronutrients that your toddler needs to grow and develop normally. Protein is found in meat, chicken, eggs and legumes and is essential for proper growth and repair. Carbohydrates provide the energy your little one needs for growing and running around. The healthy fats found in olive oil, nut spreads, avocados and oily fish provide energy and nutrients for brain development. Calcium, found in dairy, tofu and salmon, help build strong bones and teeth.

Vitamins and minerals are found in small amounts in a variety of foods, like wholegrains, dairy, fruit and vegetables, as well as proteins. It is important to encourage your toddler to eat small amounts of a variety of different foods in order to ensure they’re getting a wide range of these vitamins and minerals to help their little bodies fight infections and stay healthy.

How much should my toddler be eating?
It may be difficult to understand how your little one can survive an entire day or two on a few crackers and a piece of fruit! If you provide your little one with a balanced diet made up of a variety of different foods groups, your little one will determine the right amount for themselves. It is best to look at how much they are having over a few days, rather than a single meal.

How do I teach my toddler healthy eating habits?
Toddlers are great at modelling behaviour, so the best thing you can do is to set the healthy example yourself. Additionally, make sure that you have plenty of healthy choices available for your toddler to eat, like fresh fruit, cheese and oatcakes, ban sugary drinks and keep treats for special occasions. Set a mealtime routine with the whole family at the table, away from the TV screen.

How do I combat fussy eating?
It can be frustrating when your little one refuses that delicious meal that you spent so much time preparing. It’s important to remember that this is a stage your toddler is going through. Continue to offer your toddler healthy options and give them some choice e.g. Would they like strawberries or grapes? It will let them feel they have some control. If you really can’t encourage your toddler to eat their greens, consider supplementing their diet with a multi-vitamin like Vi-Daylin, specifically designed for toddlers to support their health and boost their immune systems. They may have problems with sensory integration. In this case, discuss with your doctor.

Winning combinations that are toddler approved
Keep snack and meals balanced and interesting, yet simple, and you are sure to find a firm favourite.

Some healthy toddler dinners:

  • Cheese omelette, soft pasta pieces and cucumber and carrot sticks.
  • Pieces of roast chicken, sweet potato wedges and peas.
  • Spaghetti bolognaise and sweet pepper salad sticks.

Some healthy toddler snacks:

  • Oatcakes
  • Cheese cubes
  • Fresh fruit pieces
  • Pieces of ham
  • Bread sticks
  • Cucumber
  • Plain yoghurt with cut fruit

For some delicious and healthy recipes for toddler meals, visit our recipes page.

Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is best for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months. PURITY fully supports this with continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary food as advised by healthcare professionals.