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Toddler Eating

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Goldfish, and cookies, and juice... Oh my! If you have a picky eater or constant snacker on your hands, you've come to the right place. Led by Tinyhood Pediatric Nutritionist, Janel Funk.

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Ask Janel, our Registered Dietitian!

Message Janel
JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Solids
ALI, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

When first introducing solids how many meals should they have a day?

Janel
JANEL

I recommend waiting until your baby is 6 months old before starting solids, and at that point, begin with once a day. Ideally you start with a breakfast or lunch meal, as this will allow you to watch your baby throughout the day for any signs of an allergic reaction. After a few weeks, your baby will likely be ready for a second meal added to the routine. By his first birthday, you’ll be providing three meals (just like the rest of the family and ideally the same foods and times the rest of the family is eating) and 1-2 snacks. Offer your baby milk before solids so the solids don’t fill up his tummy to the point where he’s too full to have milk, which is still the primary source of calories and nutrients in the first year.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Feeding schedule
ASHLEY, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi! I’m a first time mom to a 14 month old baby boy. I’ve been having a hard time getting him on a schedule and making sure I’m giving him enough fruits and veggies. My husband is vegan and our boy is currently vegetarian. Do you have any suggestions for setting up a proper eating schedule and the types of foods/amounts he should be having each day?
Thank you!

Janel
JANEL

Hi Ashley, At 14 months, he should be eating 3 meals per day, ideally with the family, and snacks if needed. I know it's not always easy to eat at the same time(s) as your toddler, but family meals are so impactful at this age, and when he sees you enjoying a varied diet, he will be much more likely to join in trying new foods. So a typical 7am breakfast, 12pm lunch and 5:30pm dinner (approximately) would probably be a good general mealtime schedule for him. As for providing enough fruits and veggies, I have to imagine that as a plant-based eating family, you focus your meals around produce, so again, sharing family meals with your little one will expose him to plenty of fruits and veggies too. If you find your meals are more starch/grain/carb-based, just make sure to incorporate a fruit and/or veggie in every meal and snack. In fact, I like providing just fruit or veggies for snacks at that age so their tiny tummies aren't filled with snacky foods, leaving them less hungry for meals.

As for amounts he should be eating each day - there are many resources online that'll tell you serving sizes and amounts of each food category, but I find it much more relaxed to encourage you provide balanced, varied meals, and let him try and eat as much as he'd like. You can always start small - a few tablespoons of each food from the meal - and serve more if he's interested. Babies' appetites change day to day, so don't be surprised if he gobbles up adult-sized portions one day, and takes only a few bites the next! Remember this phrase: You provide, he decides (meaning you provide the well balanced meals at a set schedule) and he chooses whether and how much of that meal he wants to eat - this gives him mealtime control, within healthy limits. Does that help?

ASHLEY

That helps so much! Thank you for taking the time to get back to me!! :) Happy New Year!

Janel
JANEL

You're very welcome! Happy New Year!

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
regaring nutrion
SUNEETHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

hi my child is 3.5 years .. she has preschooler.. she didnt eat any thing .. she never intersted any food at home as well as day care also.. hw can i feed nutrients food with her .. wt type of food i will feed give me suggestions ( only vegterian).. thank u

Janel
JANEL

Hi Suneetha, could you please tell me more about what you're feeding her for meals and snacks? What do you eat as a family? If there is any food she likes/requests more than others (even if it is considered "junk food")? Do you eat meals together as a family? Are you bribing/encouraging her to eat what's on her plate? Is she drinking a lot of non-water beverages like milk or juice? I look forward to your information so I can assist you further.

SUNEETHA

hi janel my daugter is didnt eat properly .. she has at preschool didnt eat properly.. we have alltogethered ni8 dinner.. she didnt like junk food she said no burger wt ever we will brought she said no..
1. at mrg all pulses and grains oat rice flakes all to together make grind it powder till 1 mnth .. that powder use proidge to feed her.
2. two boil eggs white at mid snack ..she fidnt like yellow
3. lunch we have brown rice dal any 2 vegtables with home made curd i freed her..
4. she didnt eat directly fruits like banana appale avacado berries .. so i add fruits nuts dats milk mixed blender smoothie i feed her..
5. at ni8 dinner priviously she eats rice now
days she
didnt eat rice she eats ots and puffed rice proidge..
previously she at home i feed her minimum 1 hour per meal like carrton rhyms with out she didnt eat ..now days she went to preschool their only she eat .. but there is didnt eat like 2 tablespoons she said no..

SUNEETHA

i asked many times wt ever u want i made it .. some times she said pasta noodles.. but i cooked those imiditley.. but 2 tablespoon eats she didnt..

SUNEETHA

this septmber going to schhol hw can she manage with food.. which lunch box i wll make healthy ..
and 1 more she eat chiken at weak once.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Suneetha, I'm having trouble understanding some of the above, but get the general point that you're afraid she's not eating well. When it comes to healthy eating, it's actually more important we focus on healthy FEEDING practices, rather than the food itself. Your role as a mom in regards to feeding is to provide well balanced meals and snacks at a set schedule and location for your children. Your children's role is to decide how much she's going to eat, and whether or not she's going to eat. This helps take the pressure away from mealtime, and makes it so that you're not cooking up special meals for her (that she may not eat anyway!). You always want to provide one familiar food at every meal that you know she likes, so even if she doesn't like ALL of the food, she won't go hungry as there is something she'll eat (such as a dinner roll, rice, or apple slices).

At 3.5 she should have input in meals - take her grocery shopping with you to pick out foods to eat for the week; ask her to help plan the family's menu; let her help you pack her lunch for school. This ownership will make her more likely to try things. As will having her cook alongside you - 3 year olds are great helpers!

Finally, avoid talking about her needing to eat more, negotiating with her about food, pressuring her, bribing her, etc. as these tactics always backfire and don't encourage healthy feeding practices.

It sounds like you're very frustrated, and may even benefit from working alongside a registered dietitian in person who can assess your day-to-day mealtime struggles and provide even more personalized feedback. Another amazing resource is the book Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter - I recommended it to every parent! Happy to answer any other questions. I hope this helps!

SUNEETHA

sorry for ur understand me wrongly.. im hving little bit english language.. i dontknow english .. hw to type words

Janel
JANEL

That’s ok! I got the general sense of your concerns. Did you understand my recommendations?