Toddlers are notorious for being fussy with their food, which is why it’s so difficult to feed them when out and about.
Infant Toddler Forum has provided a great guide for parents a bit bamboozled by what they should be providing for lunchtime. Here’s a collection of ideas for how to get the balance right.
1. Pack two courses
While that sounds rather fancy, by two courses we just mean a savoury main meal, and something like yoghurt and fruit to follow. This also helps ensure that tots consume enough energy, as their daily energy requirement is twice that of an adult (they need 72 calories per kilo of body weight, but adults only need 30-35 calories per kilo).
2. Don’t be too adventurous
Despite Insta-mums showing off and making us concerned that our kids’ lunchboxes aren’t exotic enough, we don’t need to worry. Simpler is most likely better, and offering your toddler food that they will eat is the recipe to success here.
When introducing new foods to your child, offer them at home first and in small portions.
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3. Keep portion sizes in mind
As parents, we don’t want our kids to starve. Which is often why we give them more food than they need.
Infant and Toddler Forum’s Portion Sizes Table is very handy for knowing how much to give of the different kinds of foods.
4. Avoid sugar where possible
While we don’t need to totally cut sugar from a toddler’s diet, it’s always a good idea to limit it in certain situations (as they’ll certainly find it at other times of the day!). Don’t include cakes, biscuits and sweet spreads such as jam or honey more than once per day. Tap water is a good drink to pack and sometimes milk, which can be counted towards the three servings of dairy recommended for a toddler each day.
5. Get your toddler involved
Including your toddler in the process of buying, preparing and packing food will encourage them to have a positive attitude toward it. The chance to touch and handle food without the pressure to eat it then and there, will help children be more open to trying new textures and flavours.
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