Now Jake is officially a toddler (Nooooo! Stop growing up!), his nutritional needs have moved on somewhat from when we first joined the HiPP Wean Team a whole year ago. Our independent little man is now very clear about his likes and dislikes, when he wants something to eat (by pointing into the kitchen), and when he’s had enough (by throwing everything on the floor).
He also enjoys a varied diet of his favourite HiPP tray meals, more ‘grown up’ food that we eat as a family, and whatever he decides he wants from what anyone else is eating – yesterday he helped himself to a fistful of Crunchy Nut cornflakes from my bowl AS I WAS EATING. Toddlers are fun.
It’s important to remember that while toddlers are growing fast, and their brains and organs are developing quickly, their stomachs are still relatively small and they will often refuse food – this is a very normal part of toddler development. A toddler’s diet needs to provide relatively more energy and be more nutrient-dense than an adult’s, and it’s better for them to eat little and often, with healthy snacks between regular mealtimes. You also need to make sure they keep well hydrated with non-sugary drinks throughout the day.
HiPP nutritionist Helen Gardiner is an actual expert in feeding these complicated creatures, and has some excellent advice for any parent unsure of what the next steps are on their toddler’s weaning journey.
HiPP’s Top Toddler Tips
- Encourage healthy dietary habits and preferences
- Make mealtimes enjoyable
- Avoid giving too many salty and sugary foods (and drinks)
- Praise them when they eat well (this will encourage them to enjoy their meals)
- Establish a daily routine around their sleeping pattern
- Give a daily vitamin supplement with vitamins A, C and D (you can find out more about which vitamin supplements are best for your toddler on the HiPP website).
The average toddler needs to eat roughly 95 kcal per kg of body weight, which is nigh on impossible to work out for yourself, so HiPP has some helpful information on toddler portion sizes on their website, along with some expert advice on feeding the dreaded ‘fussy’ toddler, if you need it!
Jake is growing increasingly confident in holding a spoon for himself, and as long as we hold the bowl steady for him, can feed himself his own cereal and foods like his HiPP trays. He is in fact becoming increasingly stubborn in wanting to do it himself so we have to give him the time and encouragement to do it. We will continue to offer him new foods to try as he genuinely seems to enjoy most things he is given, although his current favourite is simply good old-fashioned cooked carrot, a great first food for babies, but still a winner with our toddler. Oh, and chocolate buttons. A little treat now and then does no harm!