5 Tips for Planning Healthy Meals for Your Toddler

5 Tips for Planning Healthy Meals for Your Toddler

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Meal planning offers several benefits. If done with the whole family, you ensure everyone will get to eat something nutritious during mealtimes. You will ensure variety in your family meals and that all the dishes you serve will be healthy.

Planning your weekly meals also means making a grocery shopping list so you won’t forget to buy any items or ingredients including your proteins, produce, and milk products with probiotics for kids. Lastly, meal planning allows you to stay within your budget when grocery shopping.

Meal Planning Tips for Parents With Toddlers

However, planning your weekly meals can be complicated when you have a toddler. Since your toddler can’t eat everything yet, you have to carefully choose the ingredients and dishes you will feed your child. At the same time, you have to ensure your toddler gets the right nutrients he or she needs for normal growth and development. Because of these, meal planning will require more work on your part.

You can still make sure you serve healthy meals for your toddler with less work and stress by following the tips below:

1.     Know the foods your toddler needs to eat every day

To help your child get the nutrients he or she needs for normal growth and development, you have to include foods from each of the five food groups in his or her daily meals.

You can follow this simple guideline:

  • Include fruits and vegetables in all meals and in some snacks
  • Give your toddler milk, cheese, and yogurt three times over the day
  • Serve starchy foods at each meal and in some snacks
  • Give your child meat, fish, eggs, and nuts two or three times each day
  • Allow your child to eat only small amounts of food with fat and sugar each day

2.     Let your toddler help you plan and prepare meals

Toddlers love to explore and learn, and you can give your own child opportunities to do so in the kitchen.

Ask your child what dishes and snacks he or she wants to eat throughout the week. Let him or her choose the fruits, vegetables, and types of meats he or she would like to have for lunch, dinner, and snacks as well. By doing so, you can be sure your toddler will eat what you cook for him or her.

Bring your child when you go grocery shopping, too. Take the time to educate your toddler about certain food products in the supermarket. Point out which are the most nutritious. Talk about how certain fruits and veggies taste like as well.

When preparing meals and snacks, let your toddler help you out. Give him or her simple tasks such as washing the fruits and veggies. You can also ask him or her to peel bananas and stir cold sauces or mixtures.

3.     Include snacks in your meal planning activities

Toddlers also need to eat snacks every day since they act as nutritional complements to meals. As such, nutritious snacks are essential to a healthy toddler diet.

To ensure your kid munches on something healthy, filling, and tasty between meals, keep a stock of ready-to-eat, freshly sliced or cubed fruits and vegetables and cheese. Make sure you always have some yogurt, hummus, organic peanut butter, and other dips which you can pair with these snacks.

4.     Be smart when prepping meals

You can save a lot of time and hard work in preparing meals for your toddler by following these additional tips:

  • Double or triple the quantity of food you prep and cook. Freeze the extra and thaw and heat it for another meal later in the week.
  • Add leftover cooked meat or fish and beans to pasta, stir-fried vegetable, rice, and noodles.
  • To make a simple yet healthy dessert or snack, serve some fruit with yogurt or sugar-free ice cream.

5.     Include new recipes in your weekly meal plans

Your toddler will most likely request dishes and snacks that you always serve. But to expose your child’s taste buds to other flavors and introduce more nutrients in his or her diet, introduce one or two new dishes every week.

By trying out new recipes once or twice a week, you won’t get overwhelmed easily. You will also avoid getting into frequent struggles with your toddler if he or she doesn’t like sampling new food.

Even if your child is still a toddler, numerous health benefits can be had with a bit of meal planning done every week. In doing so, you will have an easier time making sure he or she eats well every single day.

 

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