As your infant becomes a toddler and then an older child, nutrition is still vitally important for your child’s health. Sugary foods may also predispose toddlers for problems with overeating later in life, warns Kay Sheppard, author of “Food Addiction: The Body Knows.” Your child’s best bet for a great adolescence and adult life is to implement healthy eating habits in the first years of his development.
Moderate Fat Intake
Parents must ensure their toddlers eat a low-fat diet, according to both MedlinePlus and the book “Food Addiction: The Body Knows.” High-fat diets, even in children as young as age 2, can greatly contribute to obesity, heart problems, cancer and strokes later in life. Junk foods and high-fat vegetable oils should be served rarely, if ever.
Consider Multivitamin Supplementation
While most toddlers don’t have to take multivitamins, it usually does more good than harm to give your child a quality multivitamin, notes MedlinePlus. Toddlers’ diets usually lack the iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C found in many fruits and vegetables. If your child is a picky eater who just won’t eat green leafy vegetables, then give her a multivitamin each day to ensure she gets all the vital nutrients she needs to grow up strong.
Stick To A Routine
Toddlers need meals served at consistent times daily. Forbid your growing child from drinking milk or juice or eating snacks for at least one hour before a regularly scheduled meal. All meals should incorporate a variety of healthy food groups, including whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, fruit and milk. Introduce new foods slowly, especially if your toddler has a tendency toward picky eating.
Additional Nutrition Tips
The best way to get your child to eat healthily is to live a healthy lifestyle by example. You also should not use foods as a reward or a punishment; if your child absolutely will not eat a nutritious food after about 20 minutes, then take the plate away rather than trying to force your child to eat something he really does not like. Patience is key; keep offering new foods even if your toddler initially rejects them. If you’re concerned about your child’s eating habits or she is trying to eat non-food items, then speak to your doctor.