Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist
When it’s dark and cold outside, sometimes nothing quite hits the spot like a lovely hot meal in winter! They can also be a great way to ensure your toddler has a well-balanced diet, eating food from all five food groups each day:
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk, cheese and yogurt
- Meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses
- Oils, butter and fat spread
Winter favourites such as shepherd’s pie with a vegetable on the side can quite easily contain foods from all five of these groups, as well as keeping the whole family happy! Warming winter puddings can also be a good opportunity for toddlers to explore new foods. Toddlers can also become bored with the first savoury course at a meal, but still be interested in eating a second course of different foods. By offering two courses of different foods at meals, toddlers will be eating a wider variety of nutrients.
These winter warmers also provide a great opportunity to eat together, an important social time in family life and a great learning opportunity! Toddlers learn to eat different foods and improve their self-feeding skills, by watching what, and how, other members in the family or social group eat. When eating in a group, toddlers also learn that foods they may be reluctant at first to eat are eaten and enjoyed by other people – an important part of their feeding development.
However, when serving up child and adult portions from the same meal, make sure that you remember to think Toddler Sized, the Infant & Toddler Forum has compiled a list of toddler portion sizes for all your family favourites. There is a range in the portion sizes as some toddlers eat more than other toddlers and most toddlers eat more at one meal each day than at other meals
- Fish pie – 2-6 tablespoons
- Shepherd’s/Cottage pie – 2-5 tablespoons
- Pasta bolognaise – 3-5 tablespoons pasta with bolognaise
- Apple sponge cake – 2-4 tablespoons apple sponge cake
- Fruit crumble – 2-4 tablespoons fruit crumble