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The Snack Track: Feeding Your Toddler

From our provider: Pampers Sponsored Content
eating baby

Now that your baby is eating solid foods, you're on the spot to come up with healthy meals and snacks. Young children need to eat five or six times a day, so the snacks should really be called mini-meals. This needn't be as hard as it sounds. Healthy snacks are easy to come by once you know what to look for.

Foods to Avoid

  • Hot dogs (unless cut into bits, such as quarters lengthwise before being sliced)
  • Whole grapes, whole cherry tomatoes
  • Hard candies, including jelly beans
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Raw carrots, celery, green beans, or any hard vegetable
  • Seeds (such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds)
  • Large chunks of any food such as meat or potatoes
  • Large chunks of peanut butter -- always use the creamy kind, and spread it thinly onto a cracker or toast. Offer this food starting at 18 months. Never give a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to a toddler.

    A Word About Juice
    Juice is a sweet drink that is highly addictive to your children. It's up to you to make sure your youngster doesn't get hooked.

    What's wrong with juice? Nothing, if you give it in small amounts -- no more than four to six ounces a day. More juice than that daily leads to too much sugar and is associated with toddler diarrhea that contributes to poor nutrition. Too much juice displaces healthier alternatives such as milk and solid foods. Juice given in a bottle is linked to ear infections and tooth cavities. In developed countries, the most common cause of undernutrition is too much juice!

    A small cup (not bottle) of juice to accompany a snack is fine, but be sure that the juice doesn't become the main course. Real fruit juice is better than "fruit drinks," "cocktail" drinks, or other synthetic products. Read the labels, and keep the juice monster from taking over snack time.

    Following are tips for small eaters of different ages and appetites.

    1 Year
    Your 1-year-old doesn't seem to eat anything anymore, as his appetite and rate of growth have decreased. All the more reason to tempt him with tasty, healthy snacks. Babies this age are ready for "finger foods."

    • Eggs are a good source of balanced nutrition. Babies can use the extra iron in egg yolks. Some babies may be allergic to egg whites, though, so watch carefully for any reaction. Scrambled eggs are a delicious, non-chokable option all day long. Don't worry about the cholesterol -- babies need more than you do. Three or four eggs a week are fine. Mini omelets cut in squares and strips are easy to handle.
    • Fresh fruits are better than just fruit juice. While fruit juice is mainly sugar, fruits themselves are great sources of vitamins and other nutrients. Give your child small slices of fresh, juicy peach -- or delicious, squishy bananas -- and see how long he can resist!
    • Applesauce is another clever way to get fruit into your child. Be ready for a mess, since your child will see it as a finger food.
    • String cheese or small cubes of cheese are a good way to give your child calcium if he doesn't like milk ... or even if he does. Cottage cheese is also a favorite; again, be ready for a mess!
    • Carrots and green beans, cooked and diced, make a tasty snack. No whole peas, please.
    • Potatoes, cooked and diced, do the trick. Watch out for the French-fry habit -- too many, too greasy, and too salty.


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