Feeding Toddlers Right: What and How to Feed One?
Do you find it difficult to feed him or her because of her incessant antics when it’s time to eat? Well, in India, thanks to the diverse range and eclectic flavors, most Indian mommies generally don’t find it too hard to introduce solids to their toddlers. However, it has been noticed that most new mommies do struggle when its time to introduce solid food, with breast milk and baby food. Some others find themselves struggling with getting their toddlers to decrease milk or baby food and begin eating other foods.
For worrying newbies, our message is no not worry even a little! It is quite normal among kids in the toddler phase to be picky and fussy about their food, and as they grow up and mature, their food habits will gradually change with each day. The important thing to remember here is to provide him/her with a healthy and balanced diet to supply vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in correct amounts to his body, so that the growth requirements at his/her age are adequately fulfilled. Here are a few tips that can help you get your toddler to transition to solids easily, and with the most positive outcomes.
How to inspire the toddler to be a good eater?
While feeding your toddler, it is important to be patient and calm – because, almost all the time the food has the chance to end up anywhere which would certainly be not his/her mouth. Reacting at this incidents will only endanger your toddler’s aversion to good eating, while withholding your obvious frustration and channeling it to make the experience a positive one might result in your child looking forward to mealtime everyday! Healthy eating could be implemented in this way by:
- Introducing healthy and nutritious food during routine mealtimes, but do not force him/her to eat. Let it be at his or her own pace – rushing will only make it worse. The amount of solid food that he/her has in a day is not important as long as the weekly requirements are met. It is highly unlikely that your child will let himself or herself be hungry – as that has been the prime tendency for kids to react upon! Your toddler will let you know how much he needs, and when he needs it.
- Make sure you are following a regular routine when it comes to mealtimes and snack times, keeping in mind his/her times of scheduled naps. The best way to go is to offer 3 meals on average and 2-3 nutritious yet small snacks to keep the baby-hunger at bay each day.
- Along with the solid food while giving your child the daily snacks and meals, you should add a drink or a fluid supplement to go with it. The ideal is water, but you can offer milk or diluted fruit juice (10:1), to help the baby get acquainted to the new diet.
What to feed a toddler?
Dals or lentils are an inherent part of Indian diet. This nutrient rich food is a common and easy-to-digest source of protein and should be introduced to toddlers before other solids are given. Toddlers should be given untempered, soupy dals that are cooked with very few spices to avoid upsetting their stomach.
Dalia with milk/veggies/dal
Dalia or crushed wheat porridge is an easy to digest preparation that toddlers should be given before roti is introduced in their diet. Dalia can be prepared in a sweet or savory manner and can be given to the toddler with milk, steamed vegetables or dal.
Cooked rice can be given to toddlers with milk and sugar, salt and ghee or untempered dals though it needs to be properly mashed to avoid specks from getting stuck in the child’s throat or windpipe.
Toddlers should be given lot of fruits although they should be properly deseeded and mashed.
Steamed and mashed veggies with salt
Vegetables that are cooked or steamed can be mashed into a semi-solid consistency and fed to toddlers with a little salt.
Paneer and curd
Paneer and curd should be given to the child at room temperature with little or no seasoning.
Most toddlers find eating eggs delightful as the soft texture of the eggs are easy on their gums and little teeth.
Any kind of cooked food (mashed)
Toddlers can also be fed any kind of food that is a part of the family’s diet as long as it isn’t too spicy or too oily. Morsels should also be properly mashed together as very young children don’t have properly developed molars that help chew food.
How to feed a toddler?
Feed the child toddler-sized portions when you’re eating yourself
Most toddlers love to mimic everything that they see their parents and family. They are fascinated by the way adults eat and parents can use this instinctive habit to get them to eat solid food. Parents need to create very small morsels of food form their own plate and mash them thoroughly before they give it to the child.
Let the child eat from your plate
When a child sees you eating, he/she is tempted to experience food for himself/herself. Allow a child to eat from your own plate though you should ensure that his/her hands are clean before he/she picks up food.
Allow the child to eat by his/her own
A great way to get toddlers to begin eating solid foods till they are sufficiently full is to offer them a small portion of food to try and eat themselves. Dress the child in a bib, make him/her on a child mat and clean his hands thoroughly before allowing him to feed himself.
When to feed a toddler?
Feeding a toddler has been already established as a rather daunting task, but it could be made scores easier if you follow these cheat-sheets of effective baby feeding timings!
- Do not offer a meal before nap times, as your child might just be too tired to ingest it at once – instead, go for small snack with an option of a drink before setting him/her up for sleepy times. Try introducing the meal when your child wakes up from a good sleep – happy and healthy!
- Try to make an evenly spread out routine for the meals, with regular introductions of snacks in between. As your toddler is fiery ball of energy blazing a trail through an array of activities throughout the day, this approach of feeding will lead him/her fuel up adequately! And he or she will be looking forward to it!
- Another interesting approach is to mix and match up the family meal with savory, sweet and healthy range of foods – which would present to your baby a wide platter of food to explore, and enrich both his/her tastes and nutritional requirements. Keep the environment healthy, positive yet enjoyable, as a child soaks it up like a sponge.