When it comes to our precious little ones, We as parents do not wish to compromise on any thing. Food being an area of biggest concern . This Indian diet plan for toddlers (1 to 3 years of age) will help you in decoding most of the questions that might cloud your mind and hearts. What food to feed ? How much food to give at one time ? How to know when to stop ? How to be sure that your kid is not allergic to the food you are giving him ? and more such questions that cross your mind will all be answered below in this article about Indian diet plan for toddlers.
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“Bablu makes a bad face and takes his face away when I try to push a lump of rice down his throat”. “Pinky makes me run around the house at meal times”. “Tabbu picks up foods from his plate and throws it on me”. “Guddi is not growing well and she appears quite thin and weak compared to girls of her age”. “I wish my baby could put on a little more weight by now”. These are the complaints that we hear from most Indian moms. We often forget that toddlers do not have that much of consciousness to think “healthy” and all that they need is variety. Give your toddler variety in terms of colors, shape, size, and taste and he/ she will make meal times enjoyable for both you and him/her.
Importance of Number of Meals :
When your child turns 1, you can give him anything except spicy, salty, and deep fried foods . And secondly, you need to remember that your toddler needs little amounts of a variety of “interesting” foods to be given to him at various times of the day. So it is not a good idea to stuff him/her with food as a one-time option. When it comes to Kids, you should not follow the 3 meal pattern like us adults. He/she is most likely to reject this option and stay hungry. A toddler has very little stomach capacity and he/ she cannot take 3 big meals a day. He/ she will typically need 6 small meals a day to fulfill hiss/ her body’s energy requirements. The best part about feeding your kid frequently is that you dont need to worry much about his quantity of intake. Even if the kid eats 3-4 biscuits, he will be good for the next 1-2 hours. . A little effort from your side will help him/her stay satiated and disturb you less during meal times.
We know that planning a menu for these little brats is difficult. Specially when they are to be fed with a time interval of every 2-3 hours and they demand variety. Here we present an interesting Indian diet plan for toddlers that will help you become a smart mommy instantly. But before we move on to the actual diet plan, here are some basic Thumb rules you need to understand as a mother. The basis of food planning. what food to select and on what basis. After all its about meeting your toddlers nutritional need to make him physically and mentally strong and compatible with the world outside.
Menu planning for Diet of Indian Toddlers :
In the above given chart , the outer 6 boxes represent the different food groups. This chart will help you in planning your own menu based on your convenience and timing for your baby . follow the following tips for planning a healthy menu for your toddler.
- The trick is to simply add at least 1 item from each group through out the day. Ofcourse you can use a particular group more than 2 times too. but in order to maintain variety in terms of taste and nutrition , its important to plan from each group. Ex – you can plan for rice in the afternoon and oats in the evening menu. both the items belong to the cereal group and are equally healthy .
- Make your choices of food from the given food group more interesting for the kid. Ex – instead of feeding your baby with rice and milk every day , introduce variety . Plan for rice and curd , or lightly lemon flavored rice, mix rice with mung dal from pulses group to add protein and variety to your kids menu.
- After your kid turns 15 – 16 months old, you can mix up 2 or more food groups together. Ex – Oats porridge with apple. Here Oats cover the cereal group , Milk will cover up for protein and apple will cover the fruits group. some kids with good digestibility can tolerate the mixed groups concept right from 12 month on wards.
- Cereal Group – This group includes cereals like Rawa (semolina), Ragi, Rice , Oats , wheat and its products like brown bread , wheat based biscuits. These cereals are easy to digest. Initially its best to grind the food product , or mash it well to avoid choking. some kids take time to learn to chew.
- Milk and Milk Products Group – As the name suggests this group includes all varieties with milk . Cows milk has the best digestibility. Hence it is preferable to give you kids cow’s milk. You can later introduce him with milk products like cheese , curd, buttermilk and paneer. Cheese on brown bread is a good snacking option for your 2+ year old toddler. They relish it.
- Non – Vegetarian Protein Group – This group includes chicken , eggs and fish . I would really recommend you to start your kid a little late with fish . May be after he is 2 + . This will ensure his digestion capacity. It is not that kids do not eat fish before this age . There are individual differences and food preferences. All you need to do is ensure about your kids digestion capacity , and allergic reactions to these foods.
- Dals And Pulses Group – Start with easily digestible dals like mung dal . once they are tolerated well by the kid, you can then move forward to slowly introduce her with all the other varieties of dals , and pulses. make sure the first time you try any new pulse , it should be diluted enough. If your baby has any sign of intolerance towards these foods , like change in color of stool , hard stool or watery stool or gases or stomach ache after the intake, reintroduce the food after a week in a diluted form
- Fruits and vegetables – The fruits and vegetables that are mentioned under the groups in the above info graphic diagram, can be used in any form . you can mash the fruits , make juice out of it , pressure cook the fruit for 1 whistle and then mash it (apple). or you can hand over them as slices to your kids. So they also learn to eat on their own . you can use vegetables in soup forms or cooked vegetable form , just the way you consume it at home. make sure you add little or no spices to the preparation. You can introduce the spices and masala for the baby after she is 2.5 + years of age.
- Fats and Sugars – this group is placed in the center on purpose. although you need to use very little amount of fats and sugar for your toddler , but please do not ignore this group . your baby really needs good fats for better digestion. don’t forget that these little ones also require tasty foods just like us. you can add sugar or jaggery to their food preparations.
Indian Diet Plan For Toddlers :
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Here is an Indian Diet plan for toddlers for your reference.
(After waking up )
|1 glass milk + 4 soaked almonds|
|Choose any 1 from the below mentioned options
|11.00 AM||2-4 slices of apple / orange / water melon /musk melon / pomogranate / Papaya / 2 wheat based biscuits / ragi flakes (handful) (any seasonal fruit)|
|Choose any 1 from the below mentioned options
|2.30 PM||Buttermilk (optional ) / Ragi kanji|
|4.00 PM||Choose any 1 from the below mentioned options
|6.00 PM||Spinach Soup / Carrot soup / Tomato soup / Mix Vegetable Soup / Corn soup (grind corn kernel in a mixer) / Fruit juice during warm climate|
|Choose any suitable option from Breakfast or Lunch Menu|
|1 glass Milk + 4 Soaked Almonds|
Important Tips to consider while following this Indian diet plan for toddlers
• Milk Intake :
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Give your toddler the regular milk when he wakes up in the morning. Give him 100 to 200 ml of milk in the morning and in case he/she is allergic to milk and milk products, you can replace milk with a whole fruit, almond milk, or soya milk. If your child has crossed 2 years of age, you may consider adding health drinks such as Pediasure to his milk. Make sure to give your toddler full cream milk and he/ she requires milk energy to support his body’s functions and to grow into a powerful adult with time. In the evening, give your toddler 100-50 ml of milk depending on his preference. Yes, do value his preference as many toddlers simply hate the taste of milk. You can’t help as I’m sure many of you also hated milk in your childhood. Use your imaginations , make them tasty smoothies or milkshakes
• Water Intake
A toddler’s daily water intake may typically consist of at least 5 cups of water. This includes the juices, milk, and other fluids that your toddler consumes throughout the day.
Make sure you give your toddler wholewheat or brown bread or bread that is fortified with vitamins and minerals.
• Fruits And Vegetables
You may opt for cooked or pureed food. Cooked or pureed vegetables with bland flavors are the best options for toddlers. These may include vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, squash, carrots, and butternut. Try with mashed food items. It’s better to feed ytout toddler steamed vegetables and pulses
• Homemade Food:
Today’s nuclear family setups coupled with an increase in the opportunities for women employment, time has become a scare resource for today’s families. It is always better to avoid tinned and packaged foods as they contain preservatives that may be detrimental to your child’s health. Make sure you invest some time to secure your child’s health and prepare meals at home. We are sure love will help you find that time!
• Oatmeal Cereals
It is a good idea to help your child build healthy eating habits since a very young age. You may introduce oatmeal cereals at a very early stage as they are healthy breakfast options and your child is most likely to develop an acceptance for oatmeal cereals as well as other complex carbohydrates.
• Portion Intake
1 tablespoon of each food: The Rule of Thumb. At one time, a one-year old child should be fed 1 tbsp of cooked cereal, pureed fruit, pureed cereal, cooked meat, cooked vegetable, one egg and ½ cup of milk and dairy products. On a similar line, a 2-year old child should be given 2 tablespoons of different foods at a time. And as you can already guess, 3 tablespoons of different foods at a time constitute the perfect dietary portions for a 3-year old child.
• Nutritious Snacks
Your kid will eat when he/she is hungry and will stop when he/ she feels full. Sometimes, you may consider providing nutritious snacks to your kid. This does not mean that you have to put a lot of extra effort in preparing healthy snacks as a lot of healthy yet no-hassle snacks are available in the market. Prepare some finger-friendly, bit-size foods and your toddler will take the responsibility of feeding himself/ herself:
• Thinly-sliced fresh fruit
• Low-sugar breakfast cereals
• Mini muffins with whole grain crackers
• Shredded cheese
• 2-4 ounces of pure fruit juice, with one part juice being mixed with two parts of water.
• Tart with pureed or strained vegetables such as green beans, squash, or carrots.
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Some Common Mistakes that You Should Avoid:
• Making your child drink more than 16-24 ounces of milk per day.
• Forcing your child to eat when he/ she is not hungry.
• Allowing your child to eat sugary snacks
Don’t get in to a habit of worrying about your kid’s food. The only thing that you should observe is whether your child is gaining weight with time and whether he is remaining active throughout the day. Too much of restrictions in his/ her diet or too much of ‘çarefree’ attitude may actually harm your child’s health. Refer this Indian diet plan for toddlers and enjoy your child’s meal times, be a little creative and allow him to enjoy his/ her creative side as well. Who knows? Your child may grow up to suggest your meal plans one day!