Toddlers are notoriously picky
eaters. They may only eat a few foods, then abruptly refuse them. Toddlers also
have rapidly changing appetites. Although toddlers grow steadily throughout
their second year, their growth rates are less dramatic than during the first
year, which often is reflected in how much they eat. Children this age may eat
robustly one day and very little the next, but they usually eat the right
amount to meet their caloric needs.
Toddlers are just beginning to understand that they can make their
own decisions. Their need for independence and control often interferes with
mealtime and eating.
Racing champ Jeff Gordon's focus on children's health comes at a crucial time. The number of
U.S. children with chronic health conditions has risen dramatically in the past
four decades, according to a study published last June in The Journal
of the American Medical Association. Some of the study's findings:
Of 80 million children in America, about 8% (6.5 million) have chronic
conditions that interfere with regular daily activity, says study author James
M. Perrin, MD, professor of pediatrics...
There are two basic "rules" for feeding your child:
You decide what, when, and where to feed your
Your child decides how and whether to eat.
More specifically, it can help to:
Find at least one food from each food group that
your child likes and make sure it is readily available most of the time.
Children tend to accept new foods gradually, and you may have to introduce a
food many times before your child actually tries it.
nutrition for your children. Do not regularly keep less nutritious foods (for
example, those that have large amounts of fats or sugar) in the house. If you
eat these foods but try to withhold them from your toddler, the child will
learn that these foods are highly desirable. The child may sneak these foods,
beg for them, or simply view them as wonderful.
Limit the amount of
fruit juice you give your child. Juice does not have the
valuable fiber that whole fruit has. Unless the label says the drink has only 100% juice, beware that many fruit drinks are just water, a little juice flavoring, and a lot of added sugar. If you must give juice, water it down. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises no more than 4 fl oz (120 mL) to 6 fl oz (180 mL) of 100% fruit juice a day for children 1 to 6 years old.1
You can help prevent mealtime battles by planning ahead and being
aware of common issues.
Provide a variety of nutritious foods for
children, at reasonably timed meals and at the dinner table.
Allow your child to
select which foods to eat from among those you have provided. Let your child
decide when he or she is finished eating. Stay out of these
Don't use food as a reward.
Consider family meals to be pleasant social events that
bring the family together, not functional events at which a child feels
obligated to eat.
Let hunger, not rules or pleading or
bargaining, determine what and how much your child eats (within the boundaries
of what you make available).
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this