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Finding the right balance of foods for your toddler.

WHAT, how much and how often should we feed preschool children? Most parents know what healthy foods they should give their toddler, but many don't know how much of it to give him/her, and how often.

New research by Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF) shows that while 80 per cent of parents with children aged under five know the key food groups that form a balanced diet for toddlers, more than a third (35 per cent) are worried they don't give their children the right balance of foods.

So what should we be feeding kids? Sweets What to feed Offer foods from all five food groups each day, in three meals and two to three snacks. There should be two courses at each meal, and only nutritious snacks.

sweet should limited once a The five food groups are: 1. Bread, cereal and potatoes: serve at each meal and offer some as snacks. 2. Fruit and vegetables: serve at each meal, and aim for about five servings a day. 3. Milk, cheese and yoghurt: serve three times a day. 4. Meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives: serve once or twice a day for non-.

vegetarians and two or three times a day for vegetarians. 5. Foods high in fat and sugar: allow some each day with, not instead of, other food groups. How to get a balance right Only half of parents are aware they should offer their toddler meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses two or three times a day. This is the most important food group for iron, which one in eight toddlers don't get enough of. Even though iron deficiency, anaemia can affect development and growth.

Conversely, while 22 per cent of parents think children shouldn't ever be given cakes, biscuits and sweet puddings, official guidelines state it's acceptable for them to have these foods once a day.

But sweets and sweet drinks, including fruit juices, should be limited to once a week.

How to get portion sizes right Research shows 79 per cent of parents routinely offer portions bigger than the recommended size for toddlers. This may be one of the reasons the UK has a child obesity problem.

and drinks be to The correct serving sizes, offered two to three times a day, include 1/2-1 medium slice of bread, 3-6 heaped tablespoons of dry cereal (cornflakes), 1/2-1 boiled, poached or fried egg, 1/4-1 medium sausage, 125ml pot of yoghurt, 3-10 small grapes/berries (they can eat more fruit and veg if they want). The expert view week ITF paediatric dietitian Judy More said: "Preschool children need a more nutritious diet than adults because they're growing - so, for example, two thirds of parents thought they should only give their toddlers carbohydrate foods like bread, rice and pasta twice a day but it should be three to five to give them the energy to run around and keep blood sugar levels even."

The ITF have launched an online competition to get parents to design a tool such as an app, a plate or measuring cups, which would offer other parents a reliable way of making sure their toddlers are eating a balanced diet. The best suggestion wins PS1000.

and at each some as snacks. 1/ of small (they can and veg if Sweets and sweet drinks should be limited to once a week

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TUCK IN Fruit plays a big part in ensuring a healthy diet for children

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 14, 2017
Words:574
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