Babies are growing and developing at an incredible rate, so he needs the right combination of calories and nutrients to help keep them going. There’s plenty you can do to encourage them to eat a balanced diet, even if they can be fussy eaters.
What is a balanced diet and why is it important?
A balanced diet should contain lots of different foods, offered in a variety of combinations. This will ensure that your baby gets everything they need to grow, develop and explore. It also helps them learn about new flavors, and develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. However, providing a balanced diet for a baby every day can be quite a challenge. So try not to worry if you don’t always achieve it. As long as your little one eats well most of the time, he or she will be getting plenty of nutrients.
Examples include bread, rice, cereals and potatoes. Starchy foods should be offered at every meal and can be offered as a snack too.
Fruit and vegetables
Try and offer a range of different colored fruit and vegetables as they all contain different nutrients. Try to include some at each meal and offer them as snacks, but remember children model their behavior from others, so make sure you include these foods in the whole family’s diet too.
Milk, cheese and yogurt
Milk should be part of your toddler’s diet every day but be sure to include other calcium-rich dairy food too. Your toddler should be having three portions of dairy food per day, which can include snacks.
Meat, fish and alternatives
Examples include chicken, salmon, eggs and pulses. This food group provides your toddler with the protein they need. They should have two servings and vegetarians should have three servings a day. Meat and pulses are also good sources of iron. Iron is essential for your toddler as it plays an important role in brain development. Oily fish such as salmon contain Omega 3 fatty acids. These fats can be beneficial for brain and eye development.
Foods high in fat and sugar
Examples of foods high in fat and sugar are oils, butter, cakes and biscuits. Although fats and sugars are an energy source for your toddler, they only contain very small amounts of vitamins and minerals and should therefore be limited.