Toddler Nutrition 101

Toddler Nutrition 101

Just when you think you are out of the woods with infancy nutrition, before you know it, the transition from infancy to toddler hood is taking place. Along with this phase comes lots of behavioural and nutritional challenges. How can you make this step more stress-free, fun and well, ultimately, enjoyable?

Here are 6 simple steps to a successful transition from infant to toddler nutrition:

1. Introduce solids at the right time: This has a huge impact on a number of things. Research has told us that the right time for introducing solids is approximately 6 months of age. At this stage, your little one will need help with eating. Don’t make this time a battle and don’t force it. Toddlers will take time to get used to new foods, flavours and textures.

2. Offer, offer, offer: Leading on from strategy number 1, it may take 10, even 20 times of offering a particular food before a child takes to that new food. This can be exhausting. Be patient, be calm and don’t beat yourself up if a particular food isn’t happening. I always think children are like pets and can sense your anxiety. The calmer you are at mealtimes, the better the experience will be – for everyone involved.

3. Finger foods: At around 6 months of age, an infant’s fine motor skills will start to develop. They will likely want to be involved in some phase of the feeding process. This may be allowing your little one to hold the spoon, while you hold another spoon to feed. It may be allowing them to hold a piece of food to feed themselves. Sure, they will miss, half of it (or more) will end up on the floor – but that’s OK. It’s about the entire eating experience. Good finger food options include steamed veggie sticks, pasta pieces, banana or other pieces of cut up fruit, avocado and finger-sized sandwiches.

4. Messy, messy, messy: I have eluded to it earlier, but be prepared to get messy. Really messy. Children will learn about the food, the texture, the smell, taste by getting messy – so try not to be a cleaner throughout the process and just roll with it. Whilst grandma might say – “don’t play with your food” – it’s actually a very important part of the learning to eat process for infants and toddlers.

5. Family mealtimes: Role modelling is hugely beneficial when you are teaching your child to eat. This starts by you eating with your child at mealtimes. Your child watches everything you do and wants to mimic your behaviours. What, how and when you eat makes a significant impression on your child.

6. Nutrients to note: There are a number of nutrients which are important for your child’s growth and development. It is important to include these nutrients at mealtimes. Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B Vitamins are the stand-out nutrients at this stage of life. Think full fat dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese), orange and yellow veggies and fruits, iron fortified cereals, minced meats and soft meat pieces.

Sometimes all of the above is easier said than done. If this is you, or if you have concerns regarding your child’s eating patterns, it would be a good idea to consult a dietitian (me) to help out. Book in at Fitwise today to get a comprehensive dietetic assessment.

Emma Caldwell
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Fitwise Physiotherapy
Consulting at our Armadale and East Melbourne rooms

To make a booking with Emma, click ‘Make a Booking’ in the top right-hand corner of this page and follow the prompts. You can also call our friendly team on 9822 4999 (Armadale) or 9486 0512 (East Melbourne), or email us on [email protected]

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In 2004, Gen McGlashan and Libby Oldfield founded Fitwise Physiotherapy. They first met in 1994.  Libby was Gen’s physio when she had her first child. Gen then worked for Libby for 10 years in Libby’s previous business, located at the Epworth Freemasons Maternity Unit in East Melbourne. They have been a team working together for a very long time!!

Libby and Gen have always had a passion for empowering women, by helping provide accurate evidence based information and treatment to help women live their best lives. Excellence in all that they do, practising and operating in an innovative way has always been their core. Fitwise was the first multi-practitioner practice providing Women’s Health physiotherapy consultations, exercise classes and clinical pilates in Melbourne.

Gen and Libby

In February 2005 Gen and Libby moved their one room practice to Albert St East Melbourne. They had expanded to 2 treatment rooms, an exercise studio and a pilates studio with a small team of physiotherapists and one receptionist. This was exciting as they wanted to be able to help more people and to grow their team – enabling their other passion: teaching and mentoring clinicians who also wanted to work within the Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health arena.

5 years later, they expanded their East Melbourne clinic and in 2015 opened their second clinic in Armadale.

Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and Dietetics have been an exciting addition in recent years, with Podiatry and Exercise Physiology being added in 2022.

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The Fitwise team has now grown to include 18 amazing practitioners and 12 wonderful administrative team members and is still growing!

Libby and Gen have always loved providing a holistic service, treating a variety of conditions in consultations and providing exercise appropriate for different life stages. The community of clients that are part of the Fitwise family, (some who have been part of the journey from the very beginning – over 17 years ago), are the biggest reason they do what they do. For Gen and Libby, it is a privilege to be part of these wonderful people’s lives.