Toddler Nutrition Essay

1338 words - 6 pages

As a parent, you want to provide the best nourishment available to ensure your toddler’s early physical growth. Early childhood nutrition is crucial for development in the first two years, not only to protect health and support growth, but it can also introduce and reinforce beneficial eating habits. As your infant grows into a toddler, you will start to rely more on foods to include suitable solid foods to get the proper nutrients and calories to support healthy growth and development. Many parents will be faced with toddler feeding challenges, such as, undisciplined table behavior, food jags, meal refusal and overweight. Without doubt, it can become a strenuous task for many parents, particularly first-time parents. The key is to be patient and to not get overwhelmed during this process; it will take time and tolerance. Given these topics, I will provide you with the necessary tools and information to ensure a helpful guidance in this age-related transition period.
During the toddler stage, they acquire individuality in food choices often expressed through rebellion. As the child grows from infancy into toddlerhood the rate of growth slows and the child eats less than parents expect. Eating habits such as consumption of foods high in saturated and trans-fat should be avoided. Also, the milk intake should be reduced from 24 oz. to 16 oz. per day in order to allow room for foods from other groups. At the age of 12 to 36 months, toddlers should consume 30-40 percent of total calories from fat and 25-35 percent for 48 months or older. “As a general rule, toddlers need between 1,000-1,400 calories per day depending on their age, weight and how active they are (Geagan).” As provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) the nutritional recommendations for toddlers include 2 or 3 servings of milk or other daily products per day. “Research shows that food-insecure mothers are at greater risk for mental health problems, which places their children at risk for cognitive and motor delays and emotional difficulties (Hernandez, and Jacknowitz 1517-1524).”
Important to realize, it’s never too early to instill good habits, such as, table manners to your child. You could start as soon as your infant begins to eat solid foods. During the toddler years, “self-feeding should be encouraged because it will help the child develop fine motor skills and lead to the development of controlled energy intake (Allen and Myers 1530).” The interaction between child and adult will teach your toddler appropriate table manners by experiencing feedback for “good” and “bad” actions. “By sitting at the table, turning off the television, and eating the same foods as the toddler, caregivers can create the desired social environment in which good nutritional habits develop (Allen and Myers 1530).” First thing to remember is that you need to have the right timing. For instance, make sure your child isn’t too tired to eat and that he/she is hungry. It’s best if there is...

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