1 to 3 years
Learning through play
In the toddler years, your little one won’t gain more than 180g a month. From the age of one, body growth slows down dramatically.
The body’s focus shifts now to neuron (brain) connections and gross motor development. This translates to a toddler becoming very focused on learning through play. This is her top priority. As a result, it can be difficult to get her to sit down and eat. And her body is on her side, toddlers are very efficient at conserving energy. They say toddlers can “survive on air”.
Snacks for your Toddler
Toddlers, under three years of age, need frequent, small, calorie-laden snacks. Their stomachs are no bigger than their fists. Toddlers don’t want to sit down to three big meals a day, nor do they have the stomach capacity to do so.
At this age, if allowed to, toddlers can overdo the drinks. Hence, bottles and sippy cups hold significant attraction for very little children. The liquids taste nice, they are easy to consume and sucking offers emotional comfort.
The Mini Five
Give your toddler “The Mini Five”: that’s five small meals a day. Ensure you include fats as they contain double the calories per gram compared to carbohydrates. Carbs take longer to eat and take up more tummy space so it’s so important to include all the food groups in bite size pieces.
By now your toddler probably won’t be having night feeds of milk. He should be hungry when he wakes up, which is what you want. Try to resist giving him a milk bottle before breakfast. Calories from food will be longer lasting and more nutritious than calories from milk.