Toddler food intake: “My toddler isn’t eating enough, what should i do?”
Stacey Zimmels from FeedEatSpeak is a feeding & swallowing specialist and Speech and Language Therapist
Did you know?
Babies grow at the fastest rate in their whole lifetime over the first year. This means that as they enter toddlerhood they will not need to eat as much as they did when they were weaning.
Bigger kids will naturally eat more than smaller kids.
Normal healthy children can manage their own appetite. E.g. they are able to decide what they need to eat in order to grow
Toddlers appetites are variable and they will have days or weeks where it drops and then it will pick back up.
So, assuming you have a healthy kid who is growing ok, they’re probably eating what they need.
Here’s what you can do to help reassure yourself…
Relax and trust that they are eating what they need
Provide regular eating opportunities across the day. I usually suggest they don’t go more than around 3 -4 hours between eating opportunities. This works out as three meals and two snacks per day.
Avoid letting them graze throughout the day
Offer a balanced plate of food and avoid overfilling it. You may find mentally it is better to offer a smaller portion and then to give more if they want it, than to fill the plate and have them only eat half
Avoid the temptation to pressure them to ‘eat one more bite’. This doesn’t teach them to listen to their body and stop when they are done.
Don’t offer an alternative meal if your little one doesn’t eat much of what is on offer. Take that to mean they are not too hungry. Be reassured in the knowledge they will have another opportunity to eat soon.
This approach will have lifelong benefits as it supports your child to listen to their body and eat what they want when they want.
Head over to FeedEatSpeak for more feeding and fussy eating tips.