Growth & Skill Development
How can I help my child maintain a healthy weight?
Choosing nutritious foods and keeping an active lifestyle are two important factors for maintaining a healthy weight. Follow these tips based on recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help your child learn healthy habits early:
Don’t overfeed. Respond to your toddler’s fullness cues. Young children can usually self-regulate caloric intake. Don’t force children to finish meals if they’re not hungry. The amount they eat will vary from meal to meal and even day to day.
Keep introducing healthy foods, even if initially refused. Some experts say it may take a minimum of 10 exposures to a new food before a child decides he likes it.
Provide a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal. Limit foods that are lower in nutrients such as chips, candy, and sugary drinks.
Pay attention to portion sizes. Your toddler’s appetite may vary from time to time. Click here for a guide to appropriate toddler serving sizes for meals and snacks.
Serve whole-grain breads and cereals. Look for foods where one of the following ingredients appears first on the label: whole wheat, whole oats, whole-grain, or oatmeal. Examples of foods that are usually not whole-grain include: multi-grain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, and seven-grain.
Don’t snack to reduce boredom. Limit snacking during inactive behavior or in response to boredom. It’s also a good idea to restrict use of sweetened beverages as snacks.
Encourage activity. Physical activity along with a balanced diet provides the foundation for a healthy, active life. See the opposite page for activities your toddler might enjoy at this stage.
If you have questions about your child’s health and nutrition, speak with his pediatrician.
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