Toddlers are just like the rest of us in that they need variety but variety doesn’t need to mean something different every day.
Toddlers like routine. They like to know what’s happening ahead of time so they know what time of day it is. They like routine because it helps them feel safe.
My toddler routine includes their meals and snacks.
It’s important to have a routine. Set breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times (with a little flexibility for unexpected or planned chaos or nice things!!) are important. They show your toddler that food is for mealtimes and not for boredom, comfort or reward.
But routine isn’t just about time, it’s about what’s offered. If you are always changing what they have, it can increase fussiness as they try and get some control.
So, add the variety in but keep the framework the same.
Example toddler meal plan
Breakfast – porridge and fruit (keep the porridge the same but change the fruit)
Snack – a fruit and a yoghurt
Lunch – a sandwich and salad veg or cooked veg (yes a sandwich but with different fillings and different veg)
Snack – a carb based snack eg breadsticks, pancakes, savoury muffin, crackers, rice cakes and milk
Dinner – the hot meal including 2 veg with variety in the whole meal
This is just an example. You could have a cold dinner and a hot lunch. You can change it however you like.
What’s the ideal balance?
We are aiming for variety across these portions:
- 5 portions of fruit and veg
- 5 portions of starchy carbohydrate (you can have 2 at one meal)
- 2 portions of protein
- 3 portions of dairy
You can spread these across breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks however you choose.
Sometimes we make our lives overly complicated. It really is ok to give your toddler a sandwich every day. Honestly!
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not replace personalised nutrition or medical advice.