Mealtime Musts—Tips for Parents With ToddlersIN TODDLERS' HEALTH
As your baby grows and enters the toddler stage—18 months to 3 years old—he or she will experience many changes in daily life, including the food on his or her plate. You can make this time both fun and beneficial by introducing your toddler to the delicious and healthy world of food.
Delicious and Nutritious
When selecting food to serve to your toddler, it’s important to create a well-balanced diet that includes necessary vitamins and minerals and avoids excess sugar and saturated fat. Children often do not acquire enough calcium, vitamin C and iron in their diets. To ensure your toddler is obtaining the recommended amount of calcium, serve low- or non-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and broccoli. Vitamin C can be found in fruit, and add fish, spinach and beans into meals to boost your child’s iron intake. If you find creating a balanced diet for your toddler is too difficult, make a list or chart to help you track meals and snacks.
Take the Fuss Out of Food
Toddlers who are selective eaters often refuse foods that look unappealing, which can lead to unbalanced nutrition if the problem isn’t corrected. If your child tries a new food and doesn’t like it, don’t completely give up on the item. For instance, if your child doesn’t like carrots, use low-fat dips or peanut butter to help disguise the food. After several negative reactions, move on.
| Choking Hazards
One of the most common choking hazards for children is something parents and caregivers offer them every day—food. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep mealtimes safe for your child. Prepare food by cooking thoroughly and cutting it into small bites that will not be difficult for your toddler to chew or swallow. Always supervise while he or she is eating and offer praise when your toddler has success during meal or snack time.
Avoid foods known for causing choking hazards, including:
Sources: nfsmi.org, familydoctor.org, cyh.com, kidshealth.org
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