Toddler Food Guidelines
Newborn babies are expected to double their birth weight by 4-6
months of age and triple their birth weight by their first birthday. As an
example, a 7-pound newborn will weigh about 21 pounds by 12 months of age. If
this pace were to continue, a 2-year-old child would weigh
approximately 60 pounds! It is obvious that the infant/toddler's rate of growth
progressively slows. The need for fewer calories is coupled with a progressively
more mobile and active individual who "burns up" more calories than the
sedentary infant who spends large blocks of their day asleep. Toddlers have
advanced from passively ingesting pure liquid nutrition (breast milk or formula)
to self-feeding of table foods. This independence may be a double-edged sword
from a parent's point of
What should my toddler be eating?
A healthy diet contains four basic elements: carbohydrates, protein, fat, and minerals (for example, iron and calcium) and vitamins. The USDA has recently revised the food pyramid to reflect the most current consensus regarding infant, child, and adult nutrition (http://www.mypyramid.gov). Carbohydrate sources include grains, vegetables, and fruits. Protein sources include meats (beef, pork, poultry, and fish), tofu and lentils, eggs, and milk/dairy products. While fats are important for general health (especially for brain and nervous system development for children < 2 years of age), an emphasis on monounsaturated fats is recommended. Similarly, excessive intake of saturated fats and trans fats should be avoided.
How do I ensure that my toddler is getting enough vitamins and minerals?
Parents must accept a fundamental point. Their job is to provide a healthy
diet and lead by example. Their child's job is to eat when hungry. If a toddler
is not hungry or believes he can "hold out" and get treats, he will refuse to
eat. The good news is that no child will let himself go hungry, much less
"starve." Toddlers are in a continuous battle for independence, whether it is
mastering language and motor skills or determining what will enter their mouth.
Being very observant, they quickly realize that eating is the only facet of
their daily activities over which they have 100%
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