This week’s Ask Amanda focuses on what is the difference between the food for adults and food for kids/toddlers over 11 months.
This is a great question! The answer is – there should not be too much difference. Toddlers need what we need – just in smaller amounts. Unless there is a medical or developmental need to offer or prepare separate foods, toddlers can eat just about the same foods as grown-ups. Toddlers may have some chewing limitations that can limit textures and choking hazards, but in terms of the variety of foods, everything is fair game!
Toddlers need the same foods to fuel their growing bodies that we need – just in smaller quantities. Like adults, toddlers need fruits, vegetables, meats or other lean protein sources, breads or cereals or starches, and fats and oil. We used to suggest waiting to introduce potentially highly allergenic foods to toddlers, but this science is also rapidly changing.
A toddler’s total calorie or energy needs per day are less than adults though, impacting their daily portions. Typical toddler portions for a day are: 2 servings of dairy (1 serving is 1 cup of milk or yogurt or about 1.5 oz of cheese), 1.5 oz per day of meat or other lean protein, 2 oz per day of breads, cereals or other starches like pasta or rice (try to make these whole grain choices), 1 cup a day of fruit, ¾-1 cup a day of vegetables, and some fats and oils.
Ask Amanda is a weekly column from Feed to Succeed dietitian Amanda Gordon. Have a question? Email Amanda and let her know or submit an “Ask Amanda” question for a future column.