Toddler Food Guidelines
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Toddler food facts
- What should my toddler be eating?
- How do I ensure that my toddler is getting enough vitamins and minerals?
- How do I get my toddler to eat in general and eat vegetables in particular?
- Is there a limit to how much seafood my toddler can eat each week?
- Is there a limit to how much juice, milk, or salt my toddler should consume each day?
- How do I deal with my toddler's temper tantrums at mealtimes?
- Should I be feeding my toddler low-fat foods to avoid childhood obesity?
- Should I be concerned that my toddler eats hair, sand, and dirt?
- How do I incorporate breastfeeding into my toddler's feeding schedule?
- I think my child may have a food allergy. What should I do?
- How can I instill healthy eating habits in my child?
- Where can I find healthy recipes for my toddler?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Toddler food facts
- Toddlers eat because they are hungry and it is fun. Eliminate either of these and an unnecessary battle between toddler and parents may ensue.
- Children less than 2 years of age have no restrictions on fat/cholesterol intake. Those over 2 years of age should participate in the heart healthy diet that their parents (hopefully) follow. As such, parents should lead by example.
- Poor nutrition is brought upon by excessive sugar ingestion, foods high in fat/cholesterol, empty calories (for example, high fructose corn syrup), trans fats, and excessive salt intake.
- Food protein allergy may be severe, moderate, or mild in manifestation. Food allergies may be evaluated by either blood tests or scratch tests of the skin.
Newborn babies are expected to double their birth weight by 4-6 months of age and triple their birth weight by their first birthday. As an example, a 7-pound newborn will weigh about 21 pounds by 12 months of age. If this pace were to continue, a 2-year-old child would weigh approximately 60 pounds! It is obvious that the infant/toddler's rate of growth progressively slows. The need for fewer calories is coupled with a progressively more mobile and active individual who "burns up" more calories than the sedentary infant who spends large blocks of their day asleep. Toddlers have advanced from passively ingesting pure liquid nutrition (breast milk or formula) to self-feeding of table foods. This independence may be a double-edged sword from a parent's point of
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