The toddler years are defined as ages one through three. It's a time when children can be picky eaters. So how do you know if your child is getting the proper nutrition?
Dr. Raghu Kasetty of OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba is Board Certified in Pediatrics, Sleep Medicine and Developmental Behavior Pediatrics. Dr. Kasetty says, "What we recommend is when we offer foods, we have to give all different food groups and try to use a polite one-bite rule, saying, 'We have all different foods here, so make an attempt to at least eat one bite of each particular food.'"
The experts say involve the child in food shopping and preparation, such as helping wash vegetables. Kasetty adds, "Try not to get into a power struggle. Try not to force the child and try not to stress over it."
More advice is to give choices that don't matter, such as letting the child choose his or her plate color. At one year of age, children should switch from breast milk or infant formula to whole milk. "At two years of age, children are more accustomed to adult foods and they are eating larger portions," Kasetty says.
Foods to be cautious about feeding to your young child due to possible allergies are nuts, strawberries and seafood. Dr. Kasetty says, "Nuts, we don't recommend until three years of age because they are hard and there is a choking hazard. Typically, peanut content can be introduced by about 18 months of age or later."
To make sure your toddler is eating enough, use the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's BMI chart, which gauges height-to-weight ratio, based on age. You can access the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/.