Feeding your two to three year old child

Feeding your two to three(2-3) year old child

You made it through the first year and now you may be wondering what the toddler years will bring. Healthy eating and regular mealtimes are important for continued growth and development of your child. Children at this age are not small adults; they are still learning about the world of eating and experiencing food variety and texture. A child's stomach is as abig as his/her fist, which means they can't eat large, adult sized portions. Your job as a parent or caretaker is to decide what kinds of healthy foods to serve at meals and your child's job is to decide whether to eat and how much to eat.

Here are more tips:

  • Serve meals and snacks around the same time every day

  • Serve small portions for small stomachs. A portion size is:

    • milk, yogurt or cheese: 1/2 cup, 1 slice

    • vegetables: 1/4 - 1/2 cup cooked

    • fruit: 1/2 medium piece of fruit, 4 oz juice (limit juice to 4 oz a day)

    • bread and grains: 1/2 - 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cereal, 4 crackers

    • meat and beans: 1-2 oz meat or poultry, 1/4 - 1/2 cup of beans

  • after age two, children should switch to skim or 1% milk and have up to two cups per day

  • dilute 100% fruit juice with water if your child wants more juice. Better yet, whole fruit is healthier than juice.

  • limit juice to 4 oz per day (1/2 cup)

  • children eat better when an adult is sharing a meal with them. Children will model your eating habits

  • children at this age are messy eaters: let them experience their food by eating fast or slowly, using their fingers, and letting them smell and touch the food

  • toddlers are unpredictable. Their eating habits and preferences change every day.

  • don't get discouraged if your child refuses to eat a new food. You may have to offer the same food 10-15 times before your child will try it.

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