Most toddlers are picky eaters and also capable of throwing tantrums if you serve them the same food every day. They are very active and have boundless energy. Therefore, it is necessary that they eat properly. On an average, a toddler requires 1000-1300 calories per day.
Meals for Toddlers
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and eggs are healthy foods that need to be included in your child's daily diet. The food should be soft to chew, visually appealing, healthy, and of course, tasty. The following list can help give you an idea.
- Mickey pasta/whole wheat pasta/spaghetti
- Macaroni and cheese
- Noodle soup/minestrone soup
- Wheat thins with cheese/sour cream/ketchup dip
- Risotto/fried rice/pulao
- Quartered peanut butter/jelly/egg/chicken sandwiches
- Cheese/potato/chicken quesadilla
- Pigs in a blanket
- French toast/omelet/fried eggs with dip
- Mini pancakes with fruit/chocolate
- Whole wheat waffles with honey/fruits/jam
- Chicken fingers with dip/ketchup
- Mashed potatoes with/without sauce
- Mini cheese enchiladas
- Small hot dogs
- Hummus and bread
- Meatballs with spaghetti
- Cheese and bean burrito
- English muffin pizza (with ketchup and cheese), mini pizzas
- Rice and beans
- Vegetable pasta bake
- Fish sticks/chicken nuggets
- Cut fruits and veggies
Before planning a meal, consult a doctor and make sure your child does not suffer from any food allergy. If so, check labels of packaged foods and other ingredients carefully.
Apart from these healthy foods, you can also try fun snacks like smoothies, fruit popsicle, fruits cut in different shapes, fruit parfait, cupcakes, fruit pie, etc. You can cut fruits and vegetables in interesting shapes using a cookie cutter and top them with cheese or cream to tempt your kid.
Now, here are some useful tips.
- Include kids in planning and shopping for foods for weekly meals. Try and include at least one of their favorite foods every day or once in 2-3 days.
- Make sure to skin and seed fruits when serving them to kids.
- Vegetables can be pureed and added to pasta/spaghetti sauce or directly to the rice curry, without the child knowing it.
- Top vegetables with cheese/sour cream/yogurt/cream cheese and include them in sandwiches.
- Let the kid feed him/herself. It is recommended to have a sit down meal together as a family at least for lunch or dinner. The child will learn from other family members to make healthy food choices.
- Older kids can be involved and help in decorating, cleaning, garnishing, etc.
- Planning a balanced diet for kids is only possible if the entire family too follows the same. You, as a parent, need to set an example of healthy eating.
With these ideas, you can easily plan the weekly menu. Look for tried and tested recipes to make healthy and tempting meals for your kid.