Overview

Children experience a decrease in their appetite after their first birthday, according to Healthy Children. However, children still continue to grow at a rate of 3 to 5 inches a year and need a steady intake of healthy snacks and meals in order to meet their recommended calorie intake and develop properly.

Calorie Requirements

According to Kids Health, toddlers need anywhere from 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day. This amount can vary according to size, metabolism and activity level. If you are unsure how many calories your child needs each day, ask your child’s doctor to help you aim for the best amount.

Sources

The sources of your toddler’s calories are important. He needs two to three servings of dairy each day. One serving is equal to 1/2 cup of milk or yogurt. He also needs six servings of grains, with one serving equal to 1/2 slice of bread. One tablespoon of fruit or vegetables can provide him with a part of the two to three servings he needs for each. Your child also needs two servings of protein, which can be satisfied with 2 tbsp. of meat and one egg. If you offer a nutritious variety with small meals and snacks, you can help him get the calories he needs each day while meeting his serving requirements.

Recommendations

Your toddler’s eating habits may be difficult to predict. Try to offer her a healthy variety of foods and let her choose what she wants to eat. Keep in mind that part of a balanced diet includes some cholesterol and fat that is necessary for growth and development, and her fat intake should not be restricted at all if she is under two years old.

Warning

Your toddler’s necessary calories should not come from potential choking hazards. Avoid offering him small and hard foods like peanuts, sunflower seeds and hard candies. Round and slippery foods like whole grapes and hot dogs are hazards too, as well as large chunks of peanut butter. Be sure to supervise your toddler while he is eating.

Source: livestrong.com

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