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Healthy Eating for Toddlers: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

At age 2 or 3, children begin to prefer certain foods, dislike other foods, and have a lot of variation in how hungry they are for different meals each day.

Don't expect your child to eat the same amount of food at every meal and snack each day. With toddlers, you can usually leave it to them to eat the right amount at each meal. You decide what, when, and where your child eats. Your child decides how much or even whether to eat.

As you introduce your toddler to new foods, you encourage a love of variety, texture, and taste. This is important, because the more adventurous your child feels about foods, the more balanced and nutritious their diet will be.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Offer a variety of foods

  • Offer lots of vegetables and fruits every day. Patience works better than pressure. You offer the food and your child chooses whether or not they eat it.
  • Buy a variety of snacks that your child likes, and keep them within easy reach.
  • Be a role model. Let your child see you eat the foods you want your child to eat.
  • Encourage your child to drink water when your child is thirsty.

Plan regular meal or snack times

  • Offer your child a healthy breakfast. If you are in a hurry, try cereal with milk and fruit, yogurt, or whole grain toast.
  • Make a regular snack and meal schedule. Most children do well with three meals and two or three snacks a day.
  • Eat as a family as often as possible. Keep family meals pleasant and positive.
  • If you and your family enjoy fast food, make it an occasional meal or snack.

Tips for supporting eating behaviours

  • Be patient when offering a new food. Children may need many tries before they accept a new food.
  • Avoid managing your child's eating with comments such as "Clean your plate" or "One more bite." Children can tell when they are full.
  • Do not use food as a reward for good behaviour.
  • Let hunger, not rules or pleading or bargaining, determine what and how much your child eats (within the limits of what you make available). Creating a regular meal and snack routine can help.
  • To check out more tips go to Feeding Toddlers and Young Children.
  • Visit AHS.ca and enter "feeding tips for toddlers" into the search box.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter V931 in the search box to learn more about "Healthy Eating for Toddlers: Care Instructions".

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