Toddler Nutrition Tips

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Keeping your toddler healthy will benefit that child well into adulthood. Find out a few toddler nutrition tips with help from a practicing pediatrician in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Keep Your Body Healthy
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about toddler nutrition tips. Now, this sounds like a really simple topic, but it can be really tough, because one thing that happens when kids become toddlers is many of them become very picky eaters. This is difficult when a child is relying on his mother, mainly on nursing and on whatever she gives him or her in the first year of life, infants can afford not to be terribly picky eaters. They're not going to run around and get their own food. The difference is that toddlers can walk. They can bend down, pick stuff up, put it in their mouths, swallow it. So, evolution has protected toddlers from poisoning themselves by making them really resistant to eating a lot of different things. The key to getting a toddler to eat healthy foods is to reintroduce them over and over again until the toddler knows that it's safe. When we're talking about healthy foods for toddlers, what do we mean? Well, let's start with what the toddler drinks. Most importantly, it's real easy to reach for juice. It's sweet, it's fun. A lot of juices are packaged with sort of an eye towards selling it to parents and young children, but really no toddler needs any juice. If you want to give a toddler juice, I would stick with between four and six ounces of 100 percent real fruit juice a day and don't put the juice in a bottle, because it can really eat away at the teeth. People ask about milk. Well, in the second year of life, the toddler year, you probably still want to stay with whole milk. Toddlers still need about 50 percent of their calories to come from fat, because they're growing and they're building brain cells very rapidly. So, it's not time to put that child on low-fat milk yet. Later on in life, starting around the third year of life, that's not a bad idea. In terms of other foods, a healthy diet is going to have a lot of fruits. It's going to have a lot of vegetables. Here's the good news. Dietitians don't really care whether it's a fruit or a vegetable for the most part, when you're feeding kids, if it came off of a plant and it's not a potato, they're generally pretty happy. So, if your child loves fruits but hates broccoli, ah, who cares, give them more fruit, that's fine. You want to hold snacks to about twice a day. Children who graze all day long seem to have a less healthy diet. They may be a little bit more given to obesity as well. Last, try and create a family mealtime rather than eating in front of the TV or catching food as you can. That's a time when toddlers are not only learning important eating habits, but they're getting a chance to interact. That's a time that they can learn to stop eating when they're full, start eating when they're hungry. So, take some time to eat together as a family if you can. Talking about healthy eating habits for toddlers in a really short period of time, because there's so much to say, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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