By one year of age, toddlers should have already experienced a wide range of foods. It’s important to choose a variety of foods from the five food groups so they get all the sufficient nutrients they require. A toddler needs small, but frequent amounts of foods. Toddlers generally like routine so would prefer meals and snacks at regular times.
3 meals a day plus snacks should include:
- Full fat dairy food e.g. cheese & yogurt.
- Carbohydrates – Wheat based breakfast cereals, bread, rice, pasta and couscous.
- Fruit –ripe fresh fruit that isn’t too hard (also cooked and mashed if preferred) e.g. strawberries and seedless watermelon – always cut seedless grapes in half to avoid choking.
- Vegetables – fresh cooked, grated and mashed vegetables e.g. sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, tomato.
- Protein – chicken, meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils that are easy to chew e.g. baked beans, tinned tuna.
The Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia, states that children need sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally.
For optimal health they should be encouraged to:
- Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruit.
- Eat plenty of cereals (breads, rice, pasta, noodles), especially wholegrain varieties.
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry and / or alternatives (eggs, legumes).
- Include milk, yoghurt, cheese and / or alternatives (reduced fat varieties are not suitable for children under 2 years, because of their high energy needs, and should only be encouraged in older children and adolescents when the diet has diversified).
- Choose water as a drink.
Care should be taken to:
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake (low fat diets are not suitable for infants).
- Choose foods low in salt.
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars.
Source: Australian Government Department of Health