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A toddler is a child between the ages
of one and three, explains Fahmida
and these years are a time of great
cognitive, emotional and social
development. “Growth is generally
slower in first year of life but continues
gradually,” she says while activity
increases in the second year. At this
stage, parents, says Fahmida, can
hugely impact their children’s lifelong
relationship with food, enabling them
to grow into healthy, confident adults.
According to Fahmida, there is
an increase in all of the nutrient
requirements according to their
role in child’s growth. “The proteins
requirement is 1.8 grams per kilograms
of body weight until age three and
1.5 grams per kilograms of body
weight from ages four to six,” she
tells, and if a child’s diet is inadequate
in carbohydrates and fats, then the
proteins will be utilized for the energy
rather for tissue building which can
affect the growth rate of this child. Fat
energy, she adds, should be 25 percent
of the total calories required and
should be procured from essential fatty
acids and invisible fats sources.
She suggests that parents plan and
choose a variety of healthy snacks
for their toddler. “Provide a variety
of foods from each of the four food
groups – vegetables and fruit, grain
products, milk and alternatives and
meat and alternatives,” she urges and
describes that a toddler-sized serving
is usually half the food guide serving of
an adult.
Healthy Eating Tips
Breakfast, tells Fahmida, should
become a regular and routine habit in
your home. “Breakfast helps children
to participate and learn better at
school,” she explains and some great
choices include fruit, whole grain
cereals, pita-bread, toast, milk, soy
beverage, yogurt, tofu, eggs or peanut
Another tip is to make mealtime
a family time. “Cook together, eat
together, talk together; as family
meals help promote healthy eating
overall,” says Fahmida. Aim to make
the meal time a relaxed and positive
environment and be sure to switch off
the television during meals and do not
allow toys at the table.
Also advised is to share decisions about
food. Parents and caregivers, points out
Fahmida, most often decide what kinds
of food to offer and when; instead
allow children decide whether and how
much to eat. “Trust their feelings of
hunger and being full, and rather than
using food as a reward, active praise,
hugs and just spending time together
work well as rewards,” she explains.
Also picky eating, she reminds us,
is temporary. “Picky eaters often eat
slowly or play with their food,” she
says, while some want to eat the same
food day after day, others will refuse
to eat certain foods. Many factors,
she adds, such as growth spurts and
activity levels will affect appetites,
but over time, your child’s intake of
nutrients and energy usually average
out to achieve a healthy balance. Steady
growth, explains Fahmida, is the best
indicator that your toddler is eating
sufficiently and adequately. “Remember
that toddlers need less food because
they don’t grow as fast; it’s best not to
July/Aug 2014