Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is Your Toddler Getting the Food That They Really Need? HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE BE FEEDING OUR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN? LISA SALMON GETS SOME EXPERT ADVICE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is Your Toddler Getting the Food That They Really Need? HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE BE FEEDING OUR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN? LISA SALMON GETS SOME EXPERT ADVICE

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA SALMON

MOST parents know what healthy foods they should give their toddler, but many don't know how much of that food to give him/her, and how often.

New research by Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) shows that while 80% of parents with children aged under five know the key food groups that form a balanced diet for toddlers, more than a third (35%) are worried they don't give their children the right balance of foods.

So what should we be feeding kids? WHAT TO FEED OFFER foods from all five food groups each day, in three meals and two to three snacks. There should be two courses at each meal, and only nutritious snacks.

The five food groups are: 1. Bread, cereal and potatoes: serve at each meal and offer some as snacks.

2. Fruit and vegetables: serve at each meal, and aim for about five servings a day.

3. Milk, cheese and yoghurt: serve three times a day. 4. Meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives: serve once or twice a day for non-vegetarians and two or three times a day for vegetarians. 5. Foods high in fat and sugar: allow some each day with, but not instead of, the other food groups.

HOW TO GET A BALANCE RIGHT ONLY half of parents are currently aware they should offer their toddler meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses two or three times a day. This is the most important food group for iron, which one in eight toddlers don't get enough of, even though iron deficiency anaemia can affect development and growth.

Conversely, while around 22% of parents think children shouldn't ever be given treats like cakes, biscuits and sweet puddings, official guidelines state that it's acceptable for them to have these foods once a day.

But sweets and sweet drinks, including fruit juices, should be limited to once a week.

HOW TO GET PORTION SIZES RIGHT RESEARCH shows the majority (79%) of parents routinely offer portions bigger than the recommended size for toddlers. …

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