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1 in 5 children between the age of 1 – 5 years are fussy eaters and 90% of toddlers will go through a fussy eating phase. Here are 5 tips feeding your toddler.
1 in 5 children between the age of 1 – 5 years are fussy eaters and 90% of toddlers will go through a fussy eating phase – avoid food battles during these times
We’ve all done it…bribed, manipulated and even threatening with no desserts and time-outs! In a food battle, everyone loses. We’ve all done it…bribed, manipulated and even threatening with no desserts and time-outs!
You need to provide your child with healthy choices at scheduled times. Initially he may eat a little, but eventually he will learn that there are set times to eat and set choices to choose from. How much he eats will be up to him. Offer three meals per day and two snacks. Avoid offering food and drinks outside of snack and meal times as it is much easier to feed a hungry child than a semi-full child. Once you have offered the food choices at the appropriate time in a designated area (table and chair) the rest is up to your child. If she refuses the food, avoid bribing, threatening or coaxing, simply remove food and excuse her from the table, offering food again only at the next meal.
Encourage tasty foods from all the various food groups
- Protein foods are foods that build muscles in the body and contain iron necessary for growth and development. Protein foods include chicken, fish, meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans and lentils.
- Energy foods fuel the body and include breads, pasta, rice, cereals, sugars and treat foods like cakes, sweets etc.
- Fats provide energy as a back up resource, however the primary role of fat in the diet is to build brain pathways, ‘oil’ the joints and assist the immune system while providing insulation for those cold winter months. Fats in the diet can include olive oil, canola oil, butters, margarines, tree nuts, avocado pears and olives.
- Fruit and vegetables are protective to the body and are the glamour foods. They sustain the immune system of the body to fight ‘bad bugs’ that cause illnesses and they also ensure our hair, skin and overall appearance is optimal!
So what exactly is your role then as parent?
In a recent Australian study 87% of first time parents placed feeding the children as the most anxiety-producing activity of early parenting
So what exactly is your role then as parent? Quite simply to:
- Provide a variety of the foods on a daily basis in various forms.
- Identify the favourite foods of your little person, and provide these foods regularly
- Offer texture changes as your child grows, but this is also developmental and must be done at their pace.
- Encourage (not force) introduction of new foods in a pleasant environment.
- Watch and learn the cues your baby /toddler gives when they are hungry, or when they are full and satisfied and respond accordingly.
- No coaxing, bribing, threatening
- Help prevent iron deficiency anemia by including:
- Red meat in your child’s diet 2 times per week
- Regular intake of chicken, fish and eggs
- Leafy green vegetables,
- Iron fortified cereals and porridges and dried beans with vitamin C-rich foods to improve absorption
- Iron-rich snacks
- Help prevent Folate deficiency anaemia by including:
- Leafy green vegetable
- Organ meats
- Lactose intolerance
Primary lactose intolerance is an extremely rare genetic condition and is incompatible with normal life without medical intervention. A truly lactose intolerant baby would fail to grow from birth and show obvious signs of mal absorption and dehydration. At some point most babies will present with a small amount of lactose intolerance but this will resolve over time as they grow and mature. Lactose intolerance is the lack of lactase enzyme to digest the lactose found in milks.
Often cows’ milk allergy is confused with lactose intolerance but they are different. Cow’s milk allergy is when an infant displays an allergic reaction to the proteins in cows’ milk or cow’s milk formula.
By Kath Megaw