What should I feed my toddler?

What should I feed my toddler? When children are toddlers – from 1-year to 3-years-old – their brains and bodies are growing fast. Food and drink provide the building blocks for brains and body growth but what food should they be having?

An infographic summarising the key points of the post

Go, Glow and Grow food groups

Food and drink can be split into food groups – groups of foods that provide similar key nutrients.

A simplified version of food groups is Go, Glow and Grow foods:

  • Go foods provide the fuel for our little ones to run, jump, play and learn – they include foods rich in fats and carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates, oils and spreads
  • Glow foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect us from diseases – they include fruit and vegetables
  • Grow foods provide the building blocks for growing muscles – they are foods rich in protein and include beans, pulses, fish, meat, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurts.

Basic guidance for feeding toddlers

Toddlers have little stomachs, big fuel needs and often eat only small amounts at each meal. Because of this, to maximise your chances of them getting a variety of Go, Glow and Grow foods these are some gentle guidelines:

1. Offer something from the go, glow and grow groups at each meal and snack time

2. Offer a variety from each group – exposure to lots of different foods is great to help them learn about lots of foods

3. Offer a meal or snack every 2-3 hours in the day- E.g. breakfast at 7, snack 9.30, lunch 12, snack 3, dinner 5.00, snack 7.00

4. Offer drinks wisely – only with or between meals or snacks, not just before

Other resources

Some other reliable sources with more detailed information about feeding your toddler include:

How to get your toddler to eat?

It’s not just about “what should I feed my toddler?”. Many parents ask “How can I get my toddler to eat?”. It is really common for toddlers to eat really different amounts at each meal or snack times – sometimes nothing often little, sometimes lots. At least a third of parents struggle with fussy eating in toddlers. Our workbooks and online course can help you manage that.

Book review – Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

Book cover of Sad perfect - a broken dinner plate on a grey background.

Pea is a 16-year-old with a monster inside of her. “This monster – he’s always here,… and always telling me what to do. he’s responsible for my food problems – making it impossible to eat or try new things.”

“Never, ever in my entire life have I looked forward to eating food – unless it’s one of my safe foods, I don’t care about food.”

“I wish I liked food. But I don’t… Stuff just doesn’t taste good to me. I can’t put food into my mouth. It’s just … gross.”

Pea takes us through her journey of diagnosis with the eating disorder ARFID, therapy and first love.

Stephanie wrote this book while her own daughter was in treatment for ARFID and offers a tender insight into a teenagers struggle with ARFID, anxiety and depression, and hope to others in the possibility of defeating the monster once and for all.

To learn more about ARFID see my post here.

Book review – Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot, 2017. Pub: Square Fish, New York. ISBN13:9781250144171