As your baby turns a year old, you can expect to see a series of changes, including their behaviour, mobility, and appetite.
Fret not though, because we’ll guide you through one of these aspects: appetite.
Typically, 12-month old toddlers need about 1,000 calories a day (divided into 3 meals and 2 snacks) to support their developing bodies and minds.
At this age, your baby’s digestive system is already mature enough to transition from baby food to the foods you’re eating. You’ll probably even notice them mimicking you during mealtimes.
With so much going on with their appetite, you’ll be left wondering how to best feed them and meet the required nutrients for their growth at the same time.
Today, we’ll share everything you need to know about food and nutrition for toddlers!
1. Encourage, don’t pressure
Try not to worry when your little one doesn’t seem to be in the mood to eat. It’s normal for babies around this age to skip meals due to their changing appetite.
Instead of forcing them to eat, remove the food and give them a nutritious snack to eat. If that still doesn’t work, try giving them a different meal, something new to them.
Sometimes babies will want to eat the same food over and over again, which usually lasts for a few weeks. If their favourite food is healthy, then it’s fine to give it to them as long as they want.
As your baby grows, their food preferences may change as well, so be prepared to introduce them to a whole range of healthy and nutritious food options.
Your baby’s diet will soon balance out after being introduced to a new variety of foods.
2. Eat without distractions
It’s never easy to feed a baby, let alone a growing toddler. You may find that your baby always wants to walk around or even play with something while eating, which will not only make mealtimes messy but could pose a choking hazard as well.
Something that can make mealtimes easier for your baby is by removing distractions such as toys and digital devices. It’s an effective way to make feeding time a lot calmer (and cleaner too!)
Another thing you can do is to eat with your baby. By this age, you’ve probably seen your little imitating how you eat multiple times! Instead of letting them watch the television while eating, encourage them to watch you eat instead
3. Avoid spicy, buttered, and sweetened foods
Foods like these are often made with lots and lots of preservatives and additives, which, obviously, aren’t good for your baby’s health.
Aside from the health risks, these types of foods can prevent your baby from experiencing the natural taste of foods.
4. Make sure the food is cool enough
Babies aren’t yet capable of knowing when the food is hot, so it’s your task to test its temperature before giving it to your little one.
Mouth burns are one of the most painful things a 1-year old baby can experience!
By ensuring that their food is cool, your baby will not only be able to enjoy the food better, but you’ll have peace of mind too.
1. Give them healthy snacks
Snacks are your best alternatives for times when your baby isn’t in the mood to eat a full meal, and this is something that you can expect to happen multiple times as your little one grows up.
However, avoid giving sugary snacks to them. Instead, try to introduce them to snacks such as whole-wheat bread, sugar-free biscuits, yoghurt, or even fruits and see how they will like it. (Chances are, they will!)
Speaking of fruits, we’d advise against dried fruits as these usually contain lots of calories and sugar.
2. Fat isn’t always bad
It pays to be mindful of what your baby eats, but it’s important to be open to other food options as well!
Fat isn’t always a bad thing, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. In fact, a low-fat diet isn’t recommended to babies 2-year old and below unless there’s a history of obesity in the family.
In these cases, it’s best to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your baby’s diet.
Some sources of healthy fats worth adding to your baby’s diet include avocado, olive oil, yoghurt, whole milk, and also salmon.
The healthy fats from these foods can support your baby’s nervous system and eye health, on top of boosting their immune system!
3. Choose water and milk over flavoured drinks
If your child is still being breastfed, then you’re on the right track! If you’re giving your baby formula, that works too, but we’d recommend switching to full-cream milk instead at this stage.
Water and milk remain the best way to quench your baby’s thirst. That being said, stay away from flavoured milk and juices as the sugar content in these drinks is harmful to a growing baby’s health and teeth.
4. A little of bit creativity and variety doesn’t hurt
Food and nutrition for toddlers aren’t always about following the rules. Only when parents look outside the box will they realise that there’s an endless list of healthy food options for babies!
Anyone, including full-grown adults, would get tired of eating the meals every day, so it’s worth adding a bit of creativity and variety to your meal planning!
We suggest planning meals a week in advance so it’s easier to track if your little one is getting enough nutrients from a wide range of foods.
Another feeding tip for toddlers that all parents should remember is that vegetables are more than just greens. You can make a simple meal look more appetizing by adding different colours of veggies!
Tomatoes, pumpkin, and carrots are the go-to veggies for most parents. Some parents even mould these veggies into fun shapes to catch their babies’ attention!
Nurturing healthy eating habits
The first few years are crucial to build and nurture your baby’s healthy eating habits. As their appetite changes, they will start looking for foods that aren’t just milk or purées, so it’s your duty to introduce them to the right set of foods!
While it can be a frustrating stage for parents, having the right tools can make this process a stress-free one. Tools like high chairs come in handy during mealtimes, especially when you’re introducing your little one to solids for the first time.
Hatchery Cribs Singapore is the one-stop shop for all your baby essentials. You can check out our wide range of high chairs for babies on our website, or even book a tour to our showroom to see them for yourself!