Now that you’ve made it through the infant phases of starting solids and then introducing all the different food groups into your growing baby’s diet, it’s time to transition them into another important nutritional and dietary phase for their fast growing toddler bodies. Getting your toddler used to healthy eating habits is one of the best things you can pass on to them. Go ahead and set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating by following our guidelines below!

Guidelines

  • At this point, you should be encouraging self feeding. Your toddler should be able to hold the spoon themselves. Yes, they will make a mess but it will be oh so worth it!
  • Help your toddler develop a taste for fresh, unprocessed food. Encourage her to try as many tastes as possible. The best way to do this is to lead by example, remember you are their biggest role model so make good use of this.
  • It is natural for your baby to have food preferences at this stage. They are unique and might not like a certain type of vegetable of might prefer chicken to meat. Embrace this and give them the food they love while also helping them to broaden their taste palette constantly.
  • Neophobia, or picky eating, is really common at this stage of your baby’s growth. You can tackle this by allowing them to choose the food themselves, take part in preparing it, and presenting the food you give them in ways that are visually appealing to them. Did you know that it can take up to 10-15 tries before children accept new flavours and textures? Don’t assume he hates the food at the first or second try.
  • Your toddler should be able to chew efficiently at this point, no need to chop food up into small pieces or puree anymore. Giving them bigger pieces will help them chew more and activate their digestion. Just make sure that the food pieces they are putting in their mouth are not chocking hazards.
  • Your baby does not need formula or breastmilk anymore. To make sure they are getting all the calcium they need, start introducing dairy products such as milk, cheeses, and yoghurt. Make sure that any dairy products you are giving your baby are pasteurised. Most young toddlers need the fat and calories of full fat milk for growth and development, so avoid skimmed or low fat dairy products.
  • Encourage your toddler to eat the same kinds of foods you do. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, your plate should not look too different from his, with the exception of portion sizes of course. Their digestive system is fully developed to handle the same kinds of foods as you, just in smaller amounts.
  • Try letting your baby explore food himself by touching it and putting it in his mouth. Your child is at a time in her life where she is most curious, so use that curiosity to your advantage.
  • Having family dinners is hugely important at this point! Countless studies show that sharing a daily meal improves connection between parents and baby, boosts your child’s vocabulary, and leads to both you and them making better nutritional choices.

Macronutrient Requirements
No two children are the same, and listening to your toddler’s body is the best thing you can do when it comes to knowing what and how much to feed them. Use the general requirements below as a guide to whether your child is getting enough nutrition.

Food Type Serving Requirements Serving Size Examples
Grains 2 ½ cup cooked brown rice, pasta, quinoa, freekeh1 slice bread¼ cup cooked oatmeal
Fruit 1 1 piece of whole fruit1 cup chopped fruit
Vegetables 1 1 cup cooked chopped vegetables
Protein 2 1 egg30g of meat, fish, or chicken¼ cup of lentils, chickpeas, beans
Dairy Products(avoid low or non fat) 2 1 cup full cream milk1 pot yogurt40g of cheese 

Here is a weekly meal plan that you can use to follow or as a guideline for serving sizes and healthy choices.

Day 1

Breakfast ½ cup oatmeal
Lunch 4 tbsp mozzarella or mild cheddar cheese1 slice wholemeal bread
Dinner 50 grams chicken breast½ cup mashed chickpeas
Snack 1 cup milk1 cup watermelon cubes

Day 2

Breakfast 1 boiled egg1 cucumber
Lunch 50 grams minced beef1 cup boiled peas
Dinner 1 pot yogurt
Snack 1 cup milk1 cup watermelon cubes

Day 3

Breakfast ½ cup oatmeal
Lunch 1 pot yogurt1 chopped banana
Dinner 1 boiled egg1 cup chopped, cooked carrot
Snack 1 cup milk1 glass fresh orange juice

Day 4

Breakfast 4 tbsp mozzarella or mild child cheese1 slice wholemeal bread
Lunch 50 grams minced beef and ¼ cup pasta1 cup broccoli
Dinner 50 grams chicken breast1 cup chopped avocado

1 tomato

Snack 1 cup milk1 chopped banana

Day 5

Breakfast 4 tbsp mozzarella or mild child cheese
Lunch 50 grams salmon fillet1 cup baked or boiled potato
Dinner ¼ cup rice
Snack 1 cup milk1 cup grapes

Day 6

Breakfast ½ cup oatmeal
Lunch 50 grams chicken breast½ baked sweet potato
Dinner 1 boiled egg1 cup chopped, cooked carrot
Snack 1 cup milk1 glass spinach + apple juice

Day 7

Breakfast 1 scrambled egg1 cucumber
Lunch 50 grams minced beef and ¼ cup pasta1 cup broccoli
Dinner 1 pot yogurt1 chopped apple
Snack 1 cup milk1 cup watermelon cubes