Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nutritional Guide for Toddlers

At Lil Bee's 12 month physical, I expressed my concern about her decreasing appetite She is an active, happy child but I felt her eating habits had changed. Her pediatrician assured me, not in a way I was expecting, that this was normal. He said as the days go by she will start throwing tantrums, refuse to eat, start becoming picky, leading you to believe she is going to be anorexic soon. She is nearly 19 months now and I know I picked a great pediatrician because he was right on all counts.

Toddlers go through a development phase where they are more interested in exploring the world around them rather than eat veges from a plate. I try to ensure she has somewhat of a balanced diet even if she eats as she pleases. I use this chart as a guide and take it as a personal challenge. Of course I do not succeed in getting her to eat everything everyday but on the days she comes close, I feel a sense of achievement. You will understand what I am talking about if you have a picky toddler.

The chart ( from kidshealth.org) is intended for children between 2-3 years old. More information is available here.

Food Group Daily Amount for 2-Year-Olds Daily Amount for 3-Year-Olds Help With Servings
Grains 3 ounces, half from whole-grain sources 4-5 ounces, half from whole-grain sources One ounce equals: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal.
Vegetables 1 cup 1½ cups Use measuring cups to check amounts. Serve veggies that are soft, cut in small pieces, and well cooked to prevent choking.
Fruits 1 cup 1 cup Use measuring cups to check amounts. An 8- to 9-inch banana equals 1 cup.
Milk 2 cups 2 cups One cup equals: 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.
Meat & Beans 2 ounces 3-4 ounces One ounce equals: 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, or 1 egg.

Here is the link to the USDA recommended food pyramid. A nice one to put up on your refrigerator.

Please note that this is only a guide. I do not force feed or encourage the same. In some strange way toddlers eat what they want to and find hidden energy for everything they want to ! This is just a guide for me to make sure that I am providing her a balanced diet.

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