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Remember these 10 Steps for healthy happy toddlers


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After your child’s first birthday, he might start showing some food preferences for example towards colours, tastes and different textures. He will definitely want to feed himself and be more independent and suddenly his favorite food is a no-go! And he now refuses to try new foods…

10 Steps for healthy happy toddlers:

  1. Stick to a flexible routine of meals and snacks; don’t allow grazing
  2. Eat around a dinner table together as a family; Aim for 20 minutes at the table
  3. Give nutritious foods but let your child decide how much, if any, to eat
  4. Offer foods from all 5 food groups (except if allergic): Carbohydrates, Protein, Fruit, Vegetables and Dairy.
  5. Limit chips, crisps, packet snacks, chocolates, sweets, cookies, cakes and biscuits to weekends and special occasions.
  6. Respect your toddler’s food preferences and tastes; never force feed
  7. Offer water to drink after meals and in-between meals: Aim for 100ml x 6 per day. Avoid coffee, sugar containing drinks and carbonated beverages. Limit juice to 80ml of 100% juice and dilute in with water.
  8. Reward you toddler with quality time; never give drinks or food as a comfort or treat
  9. Get more sleep: Toddlers need about 12 hours of sleep at night.
  10. Get more active: Aim for 3 hours per day outdoors by walking, running, dancing, playing, climbing. Also limit TV ad other screen time to less than 1 hour a day.

Toddlers require every day:

  • 6 servings of Starchy foods
  • 2 to 3 servings of Protein foods
  • 2 Fruit servings
  • 3 Vegetable and salad servings
  • 2 Dairy servings

*One serving is ± 2 to 3 Tablespoons

Starchy Foods

Also known as energy foods, this group is the main source of energy in the diet.

  • Breads and crackers
  • Cereals and Porridge
  • Pasta, noodles, spaghetti
  • Couscous, Samp
  • Rice, Mealie rice
  • Potato

Choose wholewheat and wholegrain products. Avoid refined carbohydrates & sugar.

Protein foods

This food group provides protein, which is important for growth and tissue repair. This group is also known as the building foods. Meat is the main source of Iron & Zinc and oily fish provides Omega 3 & 6 oils plus vitamin D.

  • Meat: beef, lamb, pork
  • Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey
  • Fish: Hake, tuna, sardines, pilchards, salmon, herring etc
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter, nuts
  • Legumes and pulses: dry beans, lentils, chickpeas, hummus

Dairy Products

This group of foods provides many nutrients – they are an important source of vitamins & minerals especially Calcium, which is essential for growing bones and healthy teeth. They also provide protein.

  • Cow’s milk, soya milk
  • Milk substitutes
  • Cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheese spread, hard cheeses
  • Yoghurt, mageu, inkomazi, buttermilk
  • Ice cream

Fruit & Vegetables

This food group is often called the protective foods, because it is a very important source of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants & fibre.

  • Green: Spinach, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, baby marrow, peas, beans, broccoli, sweet peppers, pears, apples, figs, grapes, kiwi
  • Red / Orange: Tomatoes, sweet peppers, pumpkin, citrus fruit, mangoes, paw-paw, melons, apples, grapes, beetroot
  • Yellow: Pumpkin, sweet peppers, carrots, sweet corn, apricots, peaches, banana

Dried/ Fresh / Juice (100% diluted)/ Frozen

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