Dear reader, with our little nutrition guide for children from 1 to 3 years old, we intend to offer mothers and fathers appropriate help and support so that they know the keys so that their children may get appropriate eating habits at the right age.
As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth and improves cognitive development and prevents many diseases throughout life.
Stages in baby feeding
- From 0 to 6 months old: this is the time of breastfeeding which is the best possible feeding for a baby. During this period, the AEP recommends that children can be fed exclusively on breast milk but when this is not possible, the formula is the appropriate substitute.
- From 6 months to 1 year old: the child needs a more complete and diversified diet. Although it is not yet recommended to give up breast milk, you can introduce other foods into the child’s diet.
- From 1 and 3 years old: the World Health Organization recommends that children be brought to the family table. From the age of 12 months, they can already eat practically any food – under normal circumstances – the ideal objective is they begin to internalize the habits of an orderly and healthy diet.
It is in this last stage that we will focus on this article. Join us to discover practical tips for everyday life!
General recommendations for feeding children from 1-3 years old
- Variety is the spice of life. The first commandment of a healthy child’s diet is that it should be diverse, you have to include multiple foods from various groups so that the child gets all the essential nutrients.
- Prioritize fresh (and seasonal) food. It may seem silly, but both in terms of taste and the conservation of nutrients, it is better to go for fresh food, not frozen or processed.
- If your baby still takes a bottle, it’s time to say goodbye to it as experts recommend stopping use at this stage.
- Let him taste and savor. Don’t get carried away with your likes, let your baby develop their own likes by experimenting with all the flavors and textures.
- Watch out for choking. You must choose correctly which foods to offer them whole at their first feedings: grapes, olives or nuts in a child between 12 and 36 months could become a problem because of their size. Bones in fish and bones in meat are also something you should be very careful about.
- Set a schedule. The purpose is that the child may adapt to eating at specific times of the day and close to the rest of their family when it is possible.
- No salt or sugar. Let them get used to enjoying food in its natural form without adding these condiments.
- Beware of vegetarianism and veganism. Watch out! We have nothing against this form of eating. However, it is vital to consult a medical professional so that he or she can offer you advice and follow up on your case.
Key Meats in the diet of children 1-3 years
As we have said before, from 12 months onwards a child can eat almost anything. That is why we recommend a varied diet, combining different food groups, each in its proper proportion.
- Milk and other dairy products: Despite progressive weight loss in a child’s diet, between the ages of 1 and 3, milk remains the most important food. The reason is that the baby is still forming their bones and teeth, so their needs for calcium is very great.
Recommendation: Intake should not fall below half a liter per day.
- Meats mainly provide easily absorbed iron and high-quality proteins. We recommend that you opt for mild-tasting meats such as chicken, turkey or rabbit, eliminating processed meats and the skin in the case of poultry.
Recommendation: consume 2 or 3 times a week, avoiding game meat in any case.
- Fish is another fantastic source of protein. Besides, it provides a large amount of iodine, multiple vitamins and is the main source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are fundamental in the development of the nervous system. However, keep in mind that those with high levels of mercury should be avoided, especially swordfish, bluefin tuna, pike and shark.
Recommendation: Consume 2 or 3 times a week, at least once a week of oily fish.
- The eggs are considered as an incredible meal, the easiest protein to digest. Its yolk is one of the few foods rich in vitamin D which is fundamental in the first years of your baby’s life.
Recommendation: consume about 3 units per week, cooked, in an omelet or boiled.
- Another exceptional food is legumes. A source of minerals and rich in fiber or protein, they provide long-term energy. Finding ways to incorporate them into attractive dishes for your children will be fundamental if you want to achieve a balanced diet.
Recommendation: consume about 3-4 times a week.
- Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and are above all the most important source of fiber. The famous five daily portions of these foods are already advisable in this age group.
Recommendation: consume at least 3 portions of fruit and at least 2 portions of vegetables per day.
- Pasta and grains: the main characteristic of cereals is that they are the most important source of energy due to their contribution of carbohydrates.
Recommendation: consume 4 to 6 times a week in portions of 75 grams for pasta or rice and 25 grams for bread.
How did you like our mini feeding guide for children aged 1-3? You are now ready to start putting these guidelines into practice! Share your experience in the comments!