As your two-year-old’s language and social skills develop, they’re ready to join the family at mealtime. It’s the best time to let them drink from a cup, eat the same food as everyone else, and provide them with a balanced diet.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to ensure that they get their daily nutrition, especially for young moms juggling too much responsibility. It can also be frustrating because your little one starts to become picky about what they eat.
This article provides some age-appropriate mealtime tips and the best and worst foods to give your child. We’ll also discuss what supplements some children can take.
You can make mealtime a happy experience for your little ones by adopting eating habits, focusing on healthy food choices as a family, and avoiding making mealtimes a battle.
Best Foods to Give Your Little One
You can ensure your toddler gets the nutrition they need by preparing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy products.
Healthy Eating Tips to Remember
It’s natural for toddlers to be picky eaters. They may only eat a few dishes, refuse to eat something completely, and alter their preferences as they age. Never pressure them to eat something they don’t want. Instead, provide them with different healthy foods and let them pick their favourite foods. Keep introducing them to new dishes as their tastes keep changing.
You can also provide them with finger foods and let them feed themselves, so they learn to make good food choices and eat a balanced diet in the long run.
Foods to Avoid
Ideally, your two-year-old child must be able to feed and drink independently. They may know how to eat different finger foods, drink from a cup with one hand, and use a spoon. However, it’s crucial to remember that they’re still learning to chew and swallow food properly, which puts them at risk of choking.
You can protect your little one from choking by not giving them hot dogs, chunks of peanut butter, nuts, raw cherries with pits, round hard candies, gum, whole grapes, marshmallows, raw carrots, celery, green beans, popcorn, seeds, whole grapes, and cherry tomatoes.
3 Supplements for Children
Children who eat various healthy foods don’t need vitamin supplements. However, there are some cases where your child needs to take a vitamin supplement, such as if they have a dietary restriction or a medical condition.
This section enumerates what supplements parents can give to their little ones.
Children must drink 480 mL of low-fat or nonfat milk daily to help their bones grow strong and healthy. This amount will give them most of the needed calcium without making them eat other nutritious foods, including those with iron.
Most pediatricians recommend gradually weaning children from whole to lower-fat milk. Begin with reduced-fat (2%) milk before moving on to low-fat (1%) or skimmed milk. Remember that your child’s main milk must be whole until they’re two years old unless a doctor says otherwise.
Your child may need to take an additional supplement if they don’t eat much meat, fortified cereals, or iron-rich vegetables. However, letting them consume more than 960 mL of milk daily can also prevent the body from absorbing iron, increasing their chances of developing iron deficiency anemia.
3. Vitamin D
Infants under 12 months of age need 400 International Units (IU), and older children and adolescents need 600 IU of Vitamin D to prevent rickets. Ask your pediatrician about a supplement if they’re not getting enough from diet or sun exposure.
Every child deserves to grow strong with the right foods. Educating yourself on the best and worst foods and practising healthy habits can help create a happy mealtime experience for your two-year-old.
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