Starchy foods like bread, cereals, pasta, rice, sweetcorn and potatoes give energy – something kids need a lot of. When she's being weaned, your baby will probably start eating cereal. Rice cereal is considered the best starter food with other wholegrains being added by the end of the year.
Don't give too much fibre, as it can interfere with the absorption of minerals and make the child feel prematurely full. Do choose wholegrain products, where possible, though, like brown bread instead of white.
Vegetables and fruit
These foods give essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and sugars. The fresher they are, the better, with frozen vegetables being next best. Vegetables for babies generally need cooking so they can be pureed, but older kids can be given raw fruit and vegetables.
Milk is a baby's only food for 4 to 6 months, and continues to be an important element of the diet for the rest of the first year. Even after that, dairy products are an important source of protein and calcium and children under five should have 400-600ml of milk a day (or the equivalent in other dairy products). Good sources include cheese and yoghurt.
Choose whole milk products, rather than skimmed or low-fat, for under-twos.
Meat, poultry and fish provide protein, as well as other vitamins, minerals and fat. Alternatives for non-meat eaters include eggs, nuts (not for babies), beans, soya, lentils, and tofu.
To avoid excessive fat intake, buy lean meat
and trim off all visible fat and grill rather than fry. Avoid processed meat. Fish is an excellent low-
FatIf you offer your toddler a balanced diet, then you can be sure she's getting the necessary nutrients.
Children and babies do need fat in their diets and should never be put on a low-fat diet unless a doctor has recommended it for health reasons. However, toddlers who eat a lot of "junk" food like biscuits, chips and fast foods may well be getting more fat than they need.
How much veg?
Many moms worry that their children don't eat enough veggies. Here are some guidelines as to the recommended daily minimum:
6 – 9 months- Two small servings (2-4 tablespoons) of pureed vegetables or fruit.
9 – 12 months- Three or four small fruit or vegetable servings of 3-5 tablespoons.
1 – 2 years- Three servings, for example half a banana for dessert, 1-2 tablespoons of peas and carrots with supper.
Older toddlers should eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. A serving might be
carrot and cucumber sticks with lunch, or half an apple for a snack.
Do you manage to balance your child's diet? If so, please share your tips...