Taking the Guesswork out of Nutritionally Balanced Meals, Snacks and Drinks for Toddlers

A nutritionally balanced diet containing a combination of different foods is one of the foundations of child health, with poor diets leading to obesity, dental decay, iron deficiency and constipation; all common in UK toddlers. The Infant & Toddler Forum’s New Factsheet and Guidance & Tips Meals, Snacks and Drinks for Toddlers provides a practical overview of what foods and drinks to offer and how to combine foods from the five food groups to create nutritious meals.

This latest guidance, states that young children are unlikely to consume enough energy and nutrients in just three meals per day and therefore need two or three planned nutritious snacks per day in addition to their meals. A recent study of about 4,000 French 5- 7 year old children, published in Public Health Nutrition1, found that the few that did not follow a meal routine including a daily breakfast and two planned snacks were more likely to be overweight or obese. Grazing on high calorie foods may have substituted for eating breakfast and planned snacks.

Judy More, paediatric dietitian and ITF member explained, “The foods eaten by children in the UK have changed substantially over the last few decades. With less time spent preparing food at home and with a widening range of convenience foods available it can be difficult for families to make informed decisions about feeding toddlers. Today’s parents and carers may, understandably, be uncertain or confused about which foods to offer their young children to protect their health. This new Factsheet for practitioners working with families with toddlers and the accompanying Guidance & Tips for parents provides handy advice, daily meal plan examples and meal suggestions helping take the guesswork out of how best to feed toddlers.”

Take that first step and visit the ITF website to access our latest ‘back to basics’ advice on Meals, snacks and drinks www.infantandtoddlerforum.org


Notes to editors

The 2013 Infant & Toddler Forum Study Day for practitioners is taking place on the 31st October at The Royal Society of Medicine, London.

The Infant & Toddler Forum brings together an independent, multi-disciplinary team of experts and practitioners from paediatrics, neonatology, health visiting, dietetics, and child psychology, to share new ideas and to debate the latest thinking in infant and toddler nutrition. Best practice guidance on food and feeding for all young families is paramount for children’s health and wellbeing now and in the future For more than seven years the Forum and its partners have strived to raise awareness and promote positive change in the field of toddler nutrition and feeding behaviour, with all guidance being in alignment with DoH increased emphasis on early years intervention.

The Infant & Toddler Forum is supported by an educational grant from Danone Baby Nutrition. All resources produced by the Forum represent the independent views of the Forum with whom copyright rests.

1. Thibault H, Carriere C, Langevin C, Déti E Barberger-Gateau P, Maurice S. Prevalence and factors associated with overweight and obesity in French primary school children. Public Health Nutr. 2013; 16: 193-201.

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Further Reading

  • By Melanie Pilcher and Dr. Gillian Harris Establishing bedtime routines for toddlers and young children
  • By Dr. Gillian Harris, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Birmingham and ITF member Most parents will struggle at some point to get their toddlers to eat certain foods. Is toddler food refusal a sign of an eating disorder. or is it merely a phase? In the run up to Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Gill Harris provides practical advice to help parents tackle fussy eating in toddlers.  
  • By Lucy Upton, on behalf of the Infant and Toddler Forum On behalf of the members of the Infant and Toddler Forum, I am proud to announce the launch of a new infant feeding educational programme, which includes practical resources for frontline healthcare professionals (HCPs) working with parents and infants.