Feeding toddlers who are too busy to eat requires flexibility and creativity. “Grazing” over the course of the day may be more appropriate for this stage of development than 3 set mealtimes.
If your child is particularly active, try offering snacks of nutritious finger-foods—cubes of cheese or meat, crackers and fruit—5 or more times a day to fuel all that activity without asking him to slow down.
Over the course of a day or so, try to get a balance of food groups into him, rather than trying to balance every meal.
You may be puzzled (and relieved!) to find your child’s height and weight are going up when it seems she barely eats a bite during mealtime.
Toddlers 1-3 years of age require 1,000-1,300 calories a day (or 40 calories per day, per inch), with at least 30% of their calories coming from fat for energy and growth. Many get much of that fat, as well as the majority of their protein, from a couple of servings (8 oz) of cow’s milk each day. A few cubes of cheese and crackers cover another large portion of their needs.
In other words, during a day of nibbling, your toddler is probably getting just what she needs.
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