Every mother has faced it at one point or another...the little baby that came home from the hospital is growing up! They don’t stay tiny and snuggly forever. Each little baby unavoidably starts to grow up, they lose their baby looks and learn to crawl and then to stand. Pretty soon they are walking and then running!
As your baby grows up their nutritional needs start to change. You already transitioned from formula or breast milk to smooth baby foods and now it is time to change things around again. Toddlers tend to need fewer calories than younger children when you measure pound for pound. This can be surprising for many parents because toddlers are so active. For a personalized and individual plan talk to your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist.
It is important to encourage your child’s self-feeding because it helps development of motor skills. The first step in self-feeding is generally the pincer grasp which involves pinching things between the thumb and pointer finger. Allowing children to practice getting food in their mouths is part of fine tuning those all-important motor skills.
Some important things to remember when choosing what to feed your growing child is that you want their tastes from a young age to lean towards healthy habits. Offer your child plenty of vegetables at meal times and as healthy snacks. When shopping make sure to choose items that are in season and preferably grown without unnecessary chemicals and pesticides.
Fruit is another great food group to introduce your child to at a young age. Fruit is sweet and offers natural sugars. Instead of giving your children refined sugar in the form of candy or cookies offer them a fresh sweet peach or orange. Most children like at least some type of fruit and they provide many nutrients and vitamins that are essential for scheduled growth.
Some important vitamins and minerals are calcium, vitamin D, and iron. Many children get a large amount of their calcium and vitamin D from dairy products. This helps children to maintain healthy bone growth. However, cow’s milk is not a particularly high source of iron.
Make sure to stay away from processed foods like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and similar items that are packed with sodium and unnatural preservatives. This will help keep your child healthy and at a proper weight for their height and age. Make sure to ask your doctor about any questions you have regarding your toddler’s nutrition to make sure that they are receiving all the nutrients and minerals they need for proper development.