Do you feel overwhelmed when it comes to creating balanced meals for your toddler?
Here is a simple meal building formula to keep in mind the next time you make a meal!
Aim to include one of the following;
Include a protein food that is rich in iron. Iron is a very important nutrient for toddlers as it is essential for both brain development and growth. Protein plays a key role in many bodily functions as well as helping to keep toddlers full until their next meal.
Fats are a good source of calories and play a key role in toddlers growth and brain development. Fats also help to stabilise blood sugars and leave us feeling satisfied after a meal. Avoid trans fats and anything labelled ‘low fat’ and focus on serving whole foods with healthier fats.
Carbs are essential for energy. The NHS states that children under 2 should be offered a variety of grains, meaning whole-grains can be included as PART of their diets. Aim to offer a variety of carbs throughout the day.
Fruits & Veggies
Toddlers should be offered plenty of fruits and veggies throughout the day. Aim to serve at least 2 servings per meal but don’t worry if they don’t eat them all. It’s all about exposure! A lot of foods cover 2 or more categories (for ex. peanut butter contains both protein and healthy fats). This helps us to provide balanced meals as simply and easily as possible. Finally, it’s okay if you don’t get all of these categories in at each and every meal, I certainly don’t! Sometimes I just don’t have all of the items on hand, or we eat out, or I just simply decide that I won't be serving them all for a particular meal. The goal is NOT perfection, but instead to be mindful about what our bodies need. The occasional ‘unbalanced’ meal isn’t going to make us unhealthy!