Feeding a Fussy Toddler ­For First Time Mums
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|   Jul 15, 2016
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Feeding a Fussy Toddler ­For First Time Mums

Perplexed, confused and boggled with all the tips the first time moms keep reading on internet to know about a specialized nutrition for toddlers. It is true that the right foundation is laid during the early years of childhood to achieve the growth milestones so that we raise smart and active children, but kids’ eating behavior is a roller coaster, the turns and dips can bring on confusion makes it really difficult for the moms to provide their toddler a right nutrition.

All of us want healthy, active and smart kids, as mothers we have to understand that height gain is not the only growth milestone that the toddler has to achieve. Growth of toddler should be complete, right growth in terms of healthy weight gain, perfect height gains, proper and timely brain development and strong immunity. All this can only be achieved when the right foundation is laid for the kids by planning a specialized nutrition for them. The nutrition requirement of a toddler is entirely different from any other family member; first time moms usually have a lot of confusion about the right food to feed their babies. Once the baby start having the top feed the role of nutrition becomes quite important. Growth in young children is rapid so they need special nutrition which sometimes is not met through the food alone, as most of our kid's fussy eating habits restrict the age appropriate nutrition to reach their body's.

As a Nutrition Expert I see mothers struggling with their toddlers to feed them, to understand the importance of nutrients which are required for the right growth of toddler are listed below:


Proteins

Before setting some nutrition goals mothers should know the Importance of protein in kids diet. It is important that the protein given to your child meets his daily requirement of essential amino acids for his overall development. As proteins are the building blocks of body, a child's diet should contain sufficient amount of protein. Few high protein food sources that can be given to a toddler are listed below:

  • Eggs: Eggs can be given in the form of omelet, scrambled, egg nog.
  • Legumes and Pulses: They can be added in the diet in the form of soups, mixed with dough and given as stuffed chapati, cooked along with porridge and prepared as sweet payasam.
  • Soy: Soy flour can be mixed in the regular flour to prepare chapatis for kids, soy milk can be given to the child mixed with products that supplement a toddler’s nutrition by providing DHA & Choline.
  • Meat: Chicken and Mutton can be given as soup.
  • Dairy: Milk is the most acceptable food for a toddler and is also known as a complete food, along with other foods feed your child with milk. 


Vitamins and Minerals

Talk about the reality of time crunched parents, those well-balanced, home cooked meals might not provide all the vitamins and minerals a kid needs. Vitamins and Minerals play a vital role to boost the immunity of toddlers. That's why pediatricians may recommend a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement for:

  • Kids who aren't eating regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods.
  • Fussy eaters who simply aren't eating enough.
  • Kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they're taking medications (be sure to talk with your child's doctor first before starting a supplement if your child is on medication)
  • Kids eating a lot of fast and processed foods.
  • Kids on a vegetarian or a vegan diet (they may need an iron supplement), a lactose­free diet (they may need a calcium supplement), or other restricted diet.
  • Kids who drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leads to vitamins and minerals depletion from their bodies.

The dietary sources of vitamins and minerals include fresh fruits and vegetables. Include them in their diet in the form of juices, fruit shakes, fruit punches, fruit desserts, fruit ice creams etc.


Fats

Fats are nutrients in food that the body uses to perform various functions, it provides energy and build nerve tissue (including the brain, eye and nerves) and hormones. The body also uses fat as fuel.

DHA and Omega 3 are derived from fats and are needed for brain development the same way calcium is required for bone growth. Major brain development happens between 2­6 years of age so it is very important to know the requirement of feeding your child with proper diet that contains sufficient DHA. Foods that naturally contain DHA are limited to organ meats, fish and fish oil, which are not commonly consumed by young children. In addition, fussy eating habits and food allergies make it difficult for parents to ensure their children are obtaining optimal levels of DHA so supplementation is always needed.


Things to Remember:

  • Be a role model, set an example, if the parent has a poor eating habit, it is likely that the child will also follow your footprints. Eat well and feed well.
  • Focus on the overall nutrition rather than sticking to a single food. Kids should be eating whole, minimally processed foods, food that are close to its natural form as possible.
  • Get your kid involved in shopping for groceries and meal preparing.
  • Make healthy foods for toddlers available at home, Keep plenty of fresh fruits, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) to hand so kids avoid unhealthy snacks like soda, chips, and cookies.
  • Limit the portions: Do not insist your child to clean the plate, and never use food as a reward or punishment.
  • Toddlers’ appetites and food intake can vary daily, so do not be surprised when your child do not eat his favorite porridge. New foods may be rejected at first, so be patient and keep offering them.

The good news is that you don't need a degree in health and nutrition to raise smart and active children, you just need to be compassionate enough to understand your child's behavior of eating and choosing right path for him to follow.

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