Healthy Eating Habits for your Child
The toddler years of your child are between the age of one to three years, and according to experts, this is the time when critical social, emotional and cognitive development is taking place. So, what do you need to do to help their proper development and keep the little explorer as energetic as ever? The answer is; giving them the right portion size, developing healthy eating habits and ensuring proper exercise!
Portion Size for a Toddler
Remember, a tiny tummy can only take in so much, so it is not a good idea to force feed your child. True, they need energy and a proper diet, but you need to identify the right portion size for your little one and not over-feed them as this can make them sick.
Since obesity in children has been growing rapidly over the years, you need to keep a sharp lookout on what and how much you feed your child, to ensure their optimal health. While there has been some debate about the adequate portion size that mothers should select for their children, no definite consensus has been reached as of yet.
What all experts do agree on is that the child should have a balanced diet with all the proper components included in their daily meals. One group of experts share that it would be a good idea for mothers to start off by serving small portions to their toddlers and gradually increasing it as time passes until they do not want to eat any more.
1 Year Olds
When your baby is twelve months old, you can switch them to whole cow’s milk and offer them up to 16 ounces of it per day. Also, introduce healthy foods like, vegetables, fruits, and protein into their diet. Even if your baby refuses to eat them, continue introducing these essential options into their diet.
Important Note! You don’t want your baby to be obese; we get it, but never make the mistake of restricting the diet or calorie intake of a child less than 2 years of age!
Your child needs 900 calories in a day, which you can divide appropriately to ensure that they get:
- 550 to 600 calories from carbohydrates and proteins
- And, 300 to 350 calories from fats
Accordingly, you can ensure a good diet with the right portion size by giving your toddler,
- 16 ounces of whole milk
- 2 ounces of grains
- 19 grams of fibre
- 1 ½ ounces of protein
- 3/4th cup of vegetables, and
- 1 cup of fruits
2 To 3 Year Olds
For a 2 to 3 year old toddler, you need to make sure that they consume 1000 calories each day. You can divide these calories into important food components by ensuring,
- 300 to 350 calories from fats, and
- 650 to 700 calories from carbohydrates and proteins
The ideal diet with the right portion size for your baby can include;
- 16 ounces Low fat or fat free milk
- 2 ounces proteins
- 3 ounces of grains
- 19 grams of fibre
- 1 cup of vegetables
- 1 cup of fruits
It is also a good idea to introduce two servings of fish each week to your toddler. Make sure that you offer meals and snacks with a good variety of vegetables and fruits. With the right food options, balanced diet choices and the ideal portion sizes, you can make sure that your baby gets the nutrition needed for a healthy and energetic life.
Exercise for Your Child
Along with the right portion sizes, regular exercise is also important for your child. If you are offering the right portion sizes to your child as per their age, you are also keeping them active as well.
For 1 Year Olds
You can introduce your baby to the environment under your constant supervision. Take the baby for a stroll around the park or pay a visit to the zoo in a stroller. A walk through the neighbourhood is also good and healthy exercise for your little one.
For 2 To 3 Year Olds
Your child is growing which means that they have more energy to spare. Your toddler should be kept busy with 30 minutes of adult led physical activity each day, and 60 minutes of free play throughout the day.
Supervised visits to the park, zoo and the neighbourhood, are good ideas to introduce toddlers to their new surroundings and utilize their energy in the form of healthy exercise.
It is not recommended to expose toddlers to TV and other forms of media, but if you do want to entertain them, you should take care not to exceed the maximum time limit of 30 minutes daily.
By keeping a sharp eye out for what your toddler is eating and how much, you can ensure their proper development. With the right diet components and portion size along with the recommended exercise as per the age of your toddler, your baby will grow up into a healthy and active individual.