Some parents prepare an elaborate meal plan for toddlers but still complain – “My toddler isn’t eating enough and doesn’t finish what I put on the plate”, or “My toddler hates trying out new foods” or “My toddler is a picky eater and won’t eat what I prepare for him.
While these complaints may be true, they are not real causes for worry. As long as your toddler is healthy and active, and is growing and developing physically and mentally, it means that s/he is eating sufficient quantities necessary for growth. If your toddler meal plans also include a balanced diet of all the food...
... groups, it means that they are getting all their nutritional requirements. When drawing up a baby and toddler meal plan, what you should consider is that your child’s requirement is actually much smaller than what you think. So try offering smaller portions. An average toddler eats less than ¼ of an adult’s portion. Also don’t make the mistake of filling them up with too much fluids like milk and juices, since this will leave very little space for solid foods.
Knowing the calorie requirements will help you out in toddler meal planning. The average toddler needs approximately 1300 calories per day. Smaller children will need a little less, while bigger ones will need a little more. Considering that an ounce of milk contains 19 calories and an ounce of juice contains 15 calories, then 16 to 24 ounces of milk and about 10 to 15 ounces of juice should be sufficient, and will leave enough space and hunger for other healthy solid foods.
Many parents try to follow the toddler food pyramid while meal planning for toddlers. While this is for older children between 3 to 6 years, you can use it as a rough guide to regulate your toddler’s meals. According to this, your toddler should get her/his nutritional requirements from 2 servings of dairy group, 2 servings of fruit, 2 servings from meat and protein group, and 3 servings of vegetables, and a small quantity of fats and sweets.
It would help if you drew up a weekly toddler meal planner. This would ensure that you buy and stock the right foods when you go grocery shopping. It will also help you keep track of the calories consumed and the type of foods that your toddler has eaten throughout the week.
The best meal plans for toddlers include a wide variety and healthy balance of food items such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, eggs, and whole grains. Sugar and salt should be in moderation, and saturated fats should be as low as possible.