Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daily nutrition guide for our little munchkins (not that we have a say!)

Ever wondered just how much dairy, meat etc that our little ones should be eating? I certainly do, especially as there are some days that Miss F will only eat tomato sauce. It is then that I wonder what other food groups she is missing. I thought I would include all this information as a guide just in case you ‘d also thought about this. Even though I now have this guide I know I will struggle to get her to eat anything that she doesn’t feel like. Today, I cooked her favorite vegetable slice for lunch, and before it even hit her table, I was being told to put it in the bin! 

What do you do in this situation? Do you cook another meal, or do you let your little munchkin go a little hungry so that they will finally eat the first original first meal? Would I be a terrible mother if I had done this? Should I be admitting this?! 

There is more information about nutrition requirements below.

How big is one serve?

Your toddler needs 1 cup of fruit each day for his vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fibre needs. A typical serving size to offer at meal or snack time is 1/4 cup. Below are some examples of a cup of fruit:

1 medium piece of fruit
1 cup fresh, frozen or canned frui
200ml 100% fruit juice
1/2 cup dried fruit

Toddlers need about 3/4 cup of vegies each day. You can divide this up and offer vegetables throughout the day with meals and as snacks. Offer a variety of coloured vegetables to ensure you’re giving your tot a wide assortment of nutrients. Here’s some examples of what constitutes 3/4 cup of 

3/4 cup raw or cooked vegetables
2 cups raw leafy vegetables
200ml vegetable juice
1 small potato
1 medium tomato
12 baby carrots

For protein, Vitamin B , iron and zinc, toddler’s need about 30g of meat or meat equivalent per day such as:

30g meat, poultry or fish
1/4 cup dry beans or baked beans
1 egg
1 tablespoon peanut butter
A small handful of nuts or seeds
1/4 cup tofu
2 tablespoons hummus

Carbohydrates, Vitamin B and iron are found in grains and your toddler needs 55g from the grain food group per day. Examples of 55g include:

1 slice bread
1/2 cup cooked hot cereal
1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
3/4 cup cold cereal

Your toddler’s growing bones need calcium, riboflavin and protein found in dairy foods. A daily serve of 2 cups of dairy will fulfil this need. You can divide the 2 cups into a between meal snack serving size of 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup if you like.

1/3 cup shredded cheese
1 cup yogurt

This information was all found on www.kidspot.com.au


  1. Thank you for putting this up. It is so easy to stress over whether they are getting enough food in the right variety over the day. I think my biggest problem is thinking they need more food than they do. Having a look at this makes me think that maybe my girls are pretty close to hitting their requirements. Great blog, love the recipes :-)

  2. We have huge eating issues with our second. When we spoke to our paediatrician about it, he said that you make a meal, serve it, if he doesn't want to eat it explain that there will not be any other food available (just once, he said not to go on and on about this ie use it as a 'trade') and then stick to your guns. He said no toddler will go hungry and they'll eat when they have to.

    Our boy is sooo stubborn so he never has eaten the original meal, but I haven't made him anything else either (well, once he was crying with hunger in bed after dinner so I made him a peanut butter sandwich and felt terrible for it!).

    So, we try to follow paed's advice as hard as it is.

    These tables always scare me because I know that my boys don't get their daily requirement for anything apart from grains and dairy. I'm a head down kinda gal which means I don't fulfil the nutritional requirements for children. Poor things.....

  3. In Miss F's defense, tomato sauce IS pretty good ;)

    Great post, as always!

  4. Thanks Kate, i'm glad this has reassured you that you are on the right track. You're lucky!

    Thank you Francesca for reassuring me that i am on the track in regards to cooking more than one meal. These tables scare me too, and at the moment there is no way that i can make Miss F eat all the right things. She is happy and healthy so i'm not too worried.

    Mel, you're too funny!

    Thanks for all of your comments, it's so nice to receive them.

  5. Ever since I moved towards "Family Style" eating, where the children serve themselves at the table, most things get eaten. Give it a try and see if it makes a difference.

  6. I think they just like saying no sometimes, I read something recently in a gift shop that rang true in this situation, "There's two options in my kitchen, take it or leave it"! Love it.

    It's not easy when they refuse your home made efforts, agree that eating together is the way to go when possible.

    Also we must not forget our OWN daily nutrition requirements and try and eat as well as we want our little ones to eat, so easy to neglect oneself...

    Great post!


  7. Thanks a lot! this is really a good guide! Parents can really go blind in giving foods to our kids that we don't realize that what we are giving them is already too much!

  8. My bonus son helps me make dinner (or at least watches) when he is with us. He will start the week with only wanting fatty foods, no veggies and it is close to impossible to get to drink water. But i won't give him anything else and he complains he is thirsty i go you have water, he gets huffy, but he eventually breaks down and drinks it all and then asks for more. At the end of the week he ends up eating raw onions (WHAT?!) and can't get enough lettuce. Not to mention he quits asking for candy after the 3rd day. So staying persistent and keeping the little ones involved always turns out of the best!

  9. I wish I had this problem! My girl will eat everything in sight. Even completely cutting out everything unhealthy, she is still heavy. It drives me nuts that her ped gives me flack about it. We eat so healthy. I honestly don't know what to do. When she is in tears because she says she is hungry, should I really be denying her a second portion of carrots?? It is so frustrating.

  10. For some this would be a good rough guideline, but it is in fact not a fact for many people as the graphic loudly proclaims in all-caps! Many people don't tolerate grains and dairy (other than human milk) well at all. I'm one of those people. Growing up, my mom thought my bones were going to disintegrate from lack of dairy (thank goodness she didn't force it on me) but I grew up strong despite her fear. :) In my own family, I've seen cow dairy be responsible for stomachaches, general tiredness and malaise, snoring and sleep apnea, and difficult recovering from illness (because it increases mucous production.) And there are better ways to get calcium -- the uptake from non-human milk is actually pretty minimal. A similar argument can be made about grains.

    Regarding food control -- I try to remember how I would want to be treated in any situation in which I am dependent on someone else for my needs and essentially powerless. Granted, I don't want food to go to waste, and I don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, and I don't want my child to get the idea that I'm some sort of personal slave whose sole purpose is to attend to their every whim. At the same time, I don't want to set up unnecessary food battles that can create psychological issues with food, and I don't want to be unkind, and sometimes I don't want to eat what I've made either and I somehow manage to accomodate that. So if my child doesn't want something I've prepared, I don't make something new, but I do provide easy access for them to other foods. I love the "monkey platter" -- some people keep theirs in a refrigerator, some out on the counter. Finger foods that can sit out for a while: carrot sticks, raisins, nuts, orange slices, that sort of thing, just so there is nutrition available that can satisfy hunger and give energy. And the food that they didn't want to eat, I either put away for later, eat myself, or cut up and put on the monkey platter.