Many parents worry about whether or not their kids are eating enough. Luckily, kids are pretty good and knowing when they are full, so as long as you’re feeding them on a schedule of about every two and a half to three hours and you are allowing them to eat their fill they are likely eating enough. There are some kids who really LOVE to eat and who have big appetites too. Sometimes it seems like there is no stopping point – SP is this child. Other kids eat what seems like two bites and they are done. Both of these types of children are okay and the many variations in between are okay too.
Your job as feeder is to keep the schedule as routine and predictable as possible. That means having your child sit in his high chair or at the table every 2.5 to 3 hours – like clockwork. Putting a healthy snack or meal in front of him, offer a variety of flavors, colors and textures and allow your child to decide how much he is hungry for.
To quickly assess if your toddler is meeting his nutrient needs ask yourself the following three questions:
- Does he eat food from every food group every day?
- Does he get at least 5 evenly spaced eating opportunities every day?
- Is he growing?
If your answers are all “yes” then you and your toddler are doing great! If you have some no’s then figure out how you can change the first two, get help to fix them if needed and number 3 likely will follow.
If your child refuses to eat food from an entire food group or if he grazes or skips meals he may be at risk. Consult your pediatrician or a pediatric dietitian for personalized advice.