Challenged when feeding your 2-year old? It can be easy to plan meals and make them healthy and fun! As your child continues to develop his or her feeding skills, encourage new foods and flavor combinations. Though you as a parent are in charge of deciding what to serve during meals, your child is learning to self regulate and should decide how much he or she wants to eat.
Have a challenging eater on your hands? Don’t worry! Many children need to be exposed to new foods a number of times before they will accept them. Try presenting previously rejected foods in a new shape, size, texture or temperature. For example, if your child does not like cooked peas, try serving them chilled, or mixing a preferred food with a less desired one. Don’t forget kids this age love finger foods too! Being a good role model and eating the foods you want your kids to eat can also help. It would be really hard to get children to eat vegetables during dinner if they see you snacking on an energy bar or chips.
Tips for Healthy and Fun Meals
|Breakfast||Cinnamon Apple Swirl Oatmeal: 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/2 cup applesauce, sprinkle with cinnamon and swirl together||1 ounce grains 1/2 cup fruit|
|Snack||Strawberry Smoothie: 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, 1/4 banana, 1/4 cup milk,* and 1/4 cup yogurt*||1/2 cup fruit 1/2 cup dairy|
|Lunch||Tuna and Avocado Salad with Pasta: 1 ounce tuna, 1/2 cup cooked whole grain elbow macaroni, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup mashed avocado||1 ounce grains 1 ounce protein foods 1/2 cup vegetables|
|Snack||1 string cheese*||1/2 cup dairy|
|Dinner||Lemon Basil Chicken and Rice: 1/2 cup brown rice seasoned with basil and lemon juice, 1 ounce chicken (cut into small pieces) 1/2 cup cooked carrots 1/2 cup milk*||1 ounce grains1 ounce protein foods 1/2 cup vegetables 1/2 cup dairy|
Use low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese if possible. Calcium and vitamin D fortified organic soy or non sweetened coconut (in moderation) or almond milk can be substituted. Collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, mustard greens and fortified tofu.
Recommendations from ChooseMyPlate.gov for a 2 year old requiring 1000 calories: Grains: 3 ounces, Vegetables: 1 cup, Fruit: 1 cup, Dairy: 2 cups, Protein Foods: 2 ounces