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What Are *Normal* Eating Habits of a Toddler?

Contributed by: Stacey

By ClubMom Member Stacey, Ann Arbor, MI

Do you ever wonder if your child's eating habits fall outside of the extremes for his or her age group? Does his or her behavior seem too odd to be acceptable? Do you wish your child begged for salad, and always tried whatever you offered? Your neighbor's child is the perfect little eater - so what's wrong with yours? Here are a few things I've learned as a mom and Registered Dietitian that might ease your mind:

  1. Consuming only 9 1/2 goldfish crackers over the entire course of the day should not only be considered normal, but expected at one point or another.

  2. If your child's not a huge milk-drinker, it's O.K. Cheese and yogurt contain similar nutrition.

  3. Some toddlers love vegetables innately, while others just plain refuse them. Continue to attempt to feed them vegetables such as carrots, peas, and broccoli. However, there are wonderful kid-approved fruits that are chock-full of nutrients: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cut-up grapes, to name a few.

  4. Food jags come and go. If only a PB and J will do for lunch (and my middle one required this for over two months straight), why fight it? Before you know it, the jag will be over and something else will take its place.

  5. Treat sweets as a normal type of food. "Everything in moderation" is a good maxim to live by. Monitor portion sizes, but toddlers who are exposed to them tend to eat what's provided and then go on to something else. It's when they're severely restricted that kids tend to over-indulge when they are exposed to sweets.

  6. Make snack time count. Keep the snacks as nutrition-packed as possible: cheese and crackers, graham crackers and milk, fruit and yogurt. I try to combine a carbohydrate-rich food with a protein-rich food to help maintain my kids' optimal energy levels.

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