Toddler meal time
Usually after a toddler’s first birthday, their appetite begins to decrease. This is not unusual as their growth rate begins to slow down and their body does not require as much food. Suddenly, your great grubber is a picky eater, refuses food and resists mealtime. This is frustrating for parents as they worry their child is not getting enough nutrients now that they are much more active; running around and sleeping less.
But this is normal at this stage as they simply do not require as much food. Toddlers need about 1,000 calories a day, for growth, energy and good nutrition. If you are a calorie counter, you’ll know this is not a lot of food. It should be divided into three small meals a day and two snacks. Expect your child’s eating habits to change from day to day. They can go from eating every bit of their breakfast to eating nothing for the rest of the day. They might devour their favourite food one week and point blank refuse it the next. The nutritional needs of your toddler depends on their activity level, growth rate and metabolism. Sticking to a meal time routine is the best way encourage eating and you will quickly get to know their eating habits.
If your toddler is particularly picky, don’t push meal time too much as it could end in more refusal. A good approach is offering a choice of nutritious foods and letting your child pick which he/she would prefer to eat. Vary the tastes and textures as much as you can. If the food is still rejected, there is no point in stressing yourself or your toddler out anymore, save the plate and wait until he/she is hungry but don’t allow anything else but the food you have offered.
Toddlers’ diet needs include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, cereals, potatoes, rice, breads and pasta. Toddlers do also require a certain amount of fat and if you keep their dietary intake to 1,000 calories a day, you shouldn’t have to worry about over-feeding.