When feeding your little one, it’s important that each meal throughout the day is made up of food from each of the 3 nutrients:

• Carbohydrates – provide energy to fuel the body. Includes complex ‘starchy’ carbs such as bread rice, potatoes and pasta; as well as fruit and veg. Fruit and veg are especially important as they also provide fibre and vitamins and minerals. Nutritionally, frozen fruit and veg are just as good as fresh, and you can also give dried and canned varieties (but be wary of added salt or sugar)

GOOD TO KNOW – All of our meals contain a balance of carbohydrates and at least 1 of 5 a day.

• Protein: – the ‘building blocks’ for growth and development. Meat, fish, eggs and dairy are the best sources of protein. Remember that when it comes to dairy, whole cow’s milk is better than skimmed for under-2′s as it is a rich source of several nutrients. Pulses and beans like lentils and chickpeas are great non-animal sources of protein.

GOOD TO KNOW – All of our meals contain a source of protein.

• Fats – provide a long term store of energy for the body. They also help provide insulation and to control body temperatures. Be wary of trans-fats, often declared as hydrogenated fats on ingredients labels, which are sometimes found in chips, crisps, cakes and biscuits. Focus instead on the ‘healthy fats’ like omega 3 – an essential fatty acid which is needed for brain development and other important bodily functions. Fish – particularly oily fish, is a wonderful source of omega 3, as is rapeseed oil and olive oil.

GOOD TO KNOW – All of our meals contain no more than the recommended amount of fat and saturated fat that your little one should get from their main meal.

GOOD TO KNOW – We use salmon in our Fish Pie.

So how much of all of these foods should my little one be eating every day?

The best advice we have in this area comes from the Paediatric Group of the British Dietetic Association, as well as the Caroline Walker Trust and Children’s Food Trust.

toddler-nut-carb 80

Starchy carbohydrates

4 servings a day

1 serving is ¼ of an adult portion – such as ¼ piece of toast, ¼ cup cooked pasta

toddler-nut-veg 80

Fruit and vegetables

5 servings a day
For a 1 – 3 year old, 1 serving is 40g.

toddler-nut-Eggs 80

Protein – non-dairy sources

2 servings a day
For a 1 – 3 year old, 1 serving is 15 – 30g meat or fish; 1 whole egg; ¼ cup dry beans/pulses

toddler-nut-milk 80

Protein – dairy

3 servings a day to hit calcium requirements
1 serving is:
½ glass whole milk, pot of yoghurt or 30g full fat cheese

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Allow some fat each day with, but not instead of, the other nutrient groups.
To ensure adequate intake of Omega 3, aim for 2 servings of fish a week, 1 of which should be oily.
1 serving is: 1-3tbsp of fish
Little Dish Fish Pie is a Source of omega 3


Further reading

Caroline Walker Trust (2011) Eating Well for 1-4 Year Olds
The CWT is a charity that is dedicated to the improvement of public health through good food. They produce expert reports which establish nutritional guidelines for toddlers. Eating Well for Under-5s in Child Care (2011) is a guide that was originally published by the Trust in 1998, and has been widely used in public health nutrition since that time.

Children’s Food Trust
A registered charity, formally known as the School Food’s Trust who provide independent, expert advice to local and national government and other organisations working on children’s food issues. The Trust have been instrumental in the decision to offer free school meals to all 5, 6 and 7 year olds; and they provide ongoing advice and supports for schools on this.

Paediatric Group of the British Dietetic Association
The British Dietetic Association (BDA), established in 1936, is the professional association for dietitians. The association has 18 specialist group, of which the Paediatric Group is one. Each specialist group is driven by volunteers who offer the most up-to-date information, leadership, advice, guidance for dietitians and nutritionists working in a range of professional specialisms.

European Commission 1924/2006 regulation
This regulation protects consumers from misleading or false claims. It also makes it easier for manufacturers to identify nutrition and health claims that can be used on their food products.

Source: Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is an advisory Committee of independent experts that provides advice to the Public Health England as well as other government agencies and Departments. Its remit includes matters concerning nutrient content of individual foods, advice on diet and the nutritional status of people.

PARNUTS, or ‘Foods for Particular Nutritional Use
PARNUT foods are those which have been specially manufactured to satisfy the particular nutritional requirements of specific groups of the population. ‘Foods for young children up to the age of three years of age’ is one such specific group.