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Q&A about food and nutrition for toddlers with dietitian Dr Frankie Phillips - ANSWERS BACK

(51 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Jun-13 15:21:11

This week we're running a Q&A about nutrition for toddlers with Dr Frankie Phillips who is a registered dietitian and leading child nutritionist. Dr Frankie has experience of advising patients about their diets and has appeared on a range of TV and radio programmes. She is happy to answer questions about what meals and snacks to feed your toddlers. Post your questions to Dr Frankie Phillips before the end of Monday 24th June and we'll post up her answers on 1st July.

The Q&A is sponsored by Organix.

'Organix believe passionately about inspiring a lifelong love of good food in children, by giving parents delicious and nutritious choices for their little ones.  We create real food with real ingredients, using nothing but the best natural organic ingredients. That means nothing artificial or unnecessary just foods full of goodness.
Growing toddlers need a nutritionally balanced diet to ensure healthy growth and development and to encourage them to try different taste, textures and smells. That?s why our delicious foods suit all needs throughout the critical stages of development'.

mandmsmummy Mon 17-Jun-13 21:23:11

I have two fussy children who will not eat food mixed up, for example lasagne, shepherds pie etc. yet they love potatoes and pasta. Any tips on how to win them over?

Thereonthestair Tue 18-Jun-13 13:24:23

I have a 3 year old ex prem with cerebral palsy. I know he has additional nutritional needs as he uses more energy to walk etc. That's fine, but I am getting nowhere with a balanced diet. He loves bread, pasta etc but eats no fruit except bananas and raisins, and only peas, sweetcorn, broccoli and spinach (and baked beans if they count) by way of veg. he can sometimes be persuaded to try things with food hidden - pizza, fishcakes etc. He also dislikes milk and drinks only water. he is not keen on it in things but will tolerate it occasionally but not cream and nothing sweet. He even dislikes chocolate and cake so bribery is out. Yet he's quite adventurous with hot tastes and chillies etc and will usually try things before he decides he doesn't like them

How much does balance in a conventional sense matter for a three year old. I spent months watching his weight, diet and growth when he was first born and as such always care that he eats enough and care less that it is balanced but maybe that should change

TotallyEggFlipped Tue 18-Jun-13 20:23:22

Is it ok for a 2 year old to still have a mid morning & mid afternoon snack, or should they be just having 3 meals a day? What sort of snacks would you recommend?

Xiaoxiong Wed 19-Jun-13 21:38:53

My DS is 18 months and is drinking between 400 and 500ml whole milk a day, in addition to three meals which we attempt to make balanced but similar to thereonthestair it's often futile when he rejects the healthy stuff. Luckily he eats loads of fruit and any carb we put in front of him but vegetables like broccoli and spinach are a no go, even though we've been offering them to him since he was 6 months.

We've tried reducing his milk, diluting it, offering water/diluted juice, nothing works - he gets to the end of the smaller amount we offer and has a meltdown demanding more.

I want to go with the flow and trust that he knows what he needs but he's having SO much milk than any of the other kids his age we know that I am starting to doubt myself. I mean he's getting 1/3 of his calories through milk daily, in addition to guzzling any cheese or yoghurt we offer (even unsweetened plain yoghurt!).

Am I overthinking this? Do toddlers still just regulate themselves? (And if they do how come we keep reading about obese toddlers?)

RobinBedRest Thu 20-Jun-13 17:27:07

My DD is allergic to dairy and egg. She eats as much fruit as I give her but I have to be careful to avoid toddler diarhea, so keep it to mealtimes.

Can you suggest quick easy food for her afternoon snack as it has to keep her going 2 to 3 hours before dinner.

I use organix snack out and about (she loves the mini gingerbread men) but I need other ideas for at home, currently stuck in a peanut butter on toast rut!

JeanBillie Thu 20-Jun-13 18:57:09

At what age do you need to introduce potion control? My daughter is 23 months old, and like all toddlers makes it very clear what she does and doesn't want to eat.

Today, having eaten three proper meals and two snacks as usual at nursery, she came home with me and had a large slice of bead and soft cheese. She then asked for another, and happily ate it. My instinct says that if she's hungry, let her eat - she's growing and learning. Am I right?

If it has any impact, she's tall, seems to have inherited her dad'd long and lean physique, and is constantly on the go. She's never been your classic chubby baby, but she always gained weight consistently as a baby and has never worried me with her eating or weight.

Thank you

HorryIsUpduffed Thu 20-Jun-13 19:08:25

Two questions if that's ok...

1. If you recommend just one food that all toddlers should eat, and one that all toddlers should avoid, what would they be?

2. A friend of mine has never given her DC (boys now 5 and 7) snacks, saying it is a con and that nobody needs to eat more than three times a day unless they are diabetic. A lot of "snack" foods are deeply unhealthy, and "good" snacks such as rice cakes are nutritionally empty, and other snacks like raisins although good nutritionally are bad for teeth. Is she right? Is snacking a habit we shouldn't teach our children at all?

Looking forward to the answers to all the questions posted so far.

JacqueslePeacock Thu 20-Jun-13 19:23:18

My DS is 21 months and is becoming fussier and fussier. He won't eat any vegetables unless they are seriously disguised. He loves fruit but even there he is becoming faddy - insisting that the skin is taken off, etc. We are vegetarian so he doesn't eat meat, but he's also started refusing eggs and yoghurt (unless it's very sugary). Even hummus, which he previously loved, is often rejected now. Despite our best efforts to limit sweet stuff, he is demanding cake, biscuits and other sweet things. Do you have tips on how to limit sweet food while still getting enough calories into him? And how to make sure he's having enough protein? Thanks very much.

Cucumberscarecrow Thu 20-Jun-13 19:48:08

My problem is almost the exact same as JacquesiePeacock's but my DS is almost 3, loves meat and won't eat fruit other than bananas. I wonder where he gets the energy for all the bouncing off walls he does as it's definitely not from food!

Should I just give him plenty of what he likes (meat, cheese, bread, pasta etc) and not stress too much about the fruit and veg? The strategy to date has been to keep trying to invent new ways of making fruit and veg exciting (or keeping it hidden) but it's failing miserably and I'm getting despondent.

TripTheLightFanjotastic Thu 20-Jun-13 20:34:13

I try and give my toddler a varied diet, as much as his pickiness will allow. But I'd like to know whether you think that there are particular nutrient deficiencies, or indeed over eating of certain food groups, that you tend to see in UK children. Thanks!

Gentleness Thu 20-Jun-13 20:39:08

My 2yo and 3y9m old don't drink enough. In my view. I know they'll drink say a Fruit Shoot or somewhat diluted apple juice, but if it is only water on offer (which it usually is) they just don't bother, unless they are really thirsty. Can I trust that they'll drink what they need? Or in other words, can I stop being anxious about dehydration?

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 20-Jun-13 21:36:39

What's the best way to work out portion sizes for individual toddlers?

Januarymadness Thu 20-Jun-13 21:49:28

How much iron and protein does a 4yr old need on a daily basis and any ideas how I get it in her other than cereals. She doesnt like much hot food, certainly not meat, and is nut allergic. She eats plenty of fruit and raw veg.

AmIGoingMad Thu 20-Jun-13 22:27:00

How much should a toddler (2yrs 5 mths) be drinking? Our son drinks an awful lot. We always have a glass of water at hand and sip throughout the day so we're in the habit of him having some majorly diluted squash at hand most of the time. Should we only really be offering drinks at mealtimes and when he asks or is it ok for him to have the amount that he is?

He is also in a very picky food stage. Do we just give in to him having a limited range of food for now or if not, how can we get the veg into him? Fruit isn't a problem.

pennylovesleonard Thu 20-Jun-13 23:05:23

My dd is 3 and a half and very very fussy!
She loves fruit and would snack on it all day if she could.

She hardly eats anything at mealtimes - just a few mouthfuls & won't touch any veg at all.

She will eat humous, baked beans, bread & cheese but not consistently.

I've tried to limit snacks so she will eat her dinner but she gets hungry & I think if she's eating lots of fruit she must be getting some vitamins ?!?

She occasionally has a chewy vitamin when I'm feeling anxious about her food intake grin

I would be grateful for any suggestions! She has lots of energy & is tall for her age

FrickingFedUp Thu 20-Jun-13 23:19:32

My dd is a "good" eater, she was baby led weaned and eats quite a variety of foods, but now at 2 1/2 is just starting to get a bit more fussy. There are certain foods she likes more than others and invariably the more calorie dense ones!

Sometimes at dinner she will eat not a lot, and I won't force her to eat more as I believe she gets plenty of what she needs! However, if it is something that she loves, like pasta, she will eat it all and ask for seconds and thirds - and she must be past the point if being merely "satisfied". At what age should we start restricting portions rather than just letting them choose when they've had enough? I was a chubby child who liked her food and I don't want dd to end up the same - so I am wondering at what age we need to start being more careful?

AimForTheMoon Fri 21-Jun-13 11:27:00

My 4 year old DS is a very fussy eater, he has never been particularly interested in food, we tried baby led weaning but he would never bother to put anything in his mouth. He would eat pretty much anything we gave him when he was little but we always had to spoon feed him. After a bout of Toddler diarrhoea at about 2.5 he lost his appetite and has gradually cut down what he will eat to;
M&S mighty meaty pasta,
dry porridge with brown sugar,
toast with honey - no butter,
crackers with butter,
plain boiled pasta with cheese on the side,
cheese sandwich,
apple, mango,
fish finger & waffles but only at Grandma's house.
plain hula hoops,
boubon biscuits,
white ice cream,
He eats a variety of sweets if he is allowed and only drinks water or lemonade.

He has been refered to a child psychologist and had blood tests to check there are no physical problems, he takes an iron supplement and daily multi vitamin. Is there anything else I can do to keep him healthy? I am concerned that such a limited and crappy diet will haver a long term effect on his development. He says he only wants to eat food the same colour as us. In his case, pasty!

Jojay Fri 21-Jun-13 17:30:13

My nearly 2 yo twins are allergic to dairy and egg. I'm still breastfeeding at the moment but plan to phase it out soon.

How can I ensure they get enough calcium in their diets? And are there any other nutrients i should be concerned about?

They have soya milk in their cereal but aren't keen on any of the substitute milks as a drink. Like most toddlers they aren't wildly keen on dark green leafy veg, which is often spouted as a good source of calcium.

Any toddler friendly ideas? Thank you.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 21-Jun-13 22:21:37

I have an incredibly fussy four year old, to the point that his diet consists mainly of buttered pasta, weetabix, toast, a little bit of cheese and ham, cucumber and fruit. He essentially has a beige diet. If it isn't beige, barring cucumber and ham, he refuses to eat it.

I am constantly worried about his nutrition, yet he is quite a chunky wee soul. I'm also concerned about his sleep. As he hasn't eaten much since breakfastm, he tends to wake ridioculously early and then tends to front load, with a big breakfast (because he is hungry after sometimes 15 hours without food), a smaller lunch and virtually nothing at tea time (he will often go to bed without any tea as he refuses anything he doesn't like the look of). Any ideas on how we can break this cycle, and get him eating a more varied and balanced diet, with food spread out thoughout the day.

We have had minimal success with getting him to eat peas this week though. He has agreed that he will slowly increase the number he eats, had one on Monday and two this evening. This is progress grin

The bloody annoying thing though, is that of all my children; he was the one who was BLW in the purest terms. He obviously missed the bit in the book that said BLW babies were less fussy hmm

GlaikitFizzog Sat 22-Jun-13 10:13:12

2yo ds, loves fruit, will eat anything I put I front of him if its fruit. Savoury is where we fal miserably. He will eat mash (sometimes with hidden veg through it sometimes he is wise to my trickery) and fresh pasta tortolini, ravioli and the like. Although that is bought, I don't make my own pasta. Breakfast is weetabix or porridge or toast, sometimes all three. He eats a huge breakfast so I don't really worry if he just picks for the rest of the da, but I can't help worry that he just avoids savoury stuff.

He does like toddler meals blush and will usually wolf those down at the childminders (I send those for easiness) and knows if I try to mimic them even if I put them in the same tubs.

LeBFG Sat 22-Jun-13 14:27:06

My 2yo toddler goes through periods of eating very little. Refuses breakfast, eats some dried fruit/nuts, two spoons of lunch, biscuit or cake for a snack and may eat a little more than lunctime for tea. He's just come to the end of a two week 'fast' and is eating three meals plus fresh fruits for snacks again. My question: is this normal and healthy? To what extent should we be trying to encourage him to eat when he's not interested in food?

Some more info for my particular situation: His weight will plateau then take off again. He seems bright in himself - always running around - but a handful in terms of toddler tantrums, but this could just be his character?

GlaikitFizzog Sat 22-Jun-13 15:46:09

Lebfg, do we have the same child? grin

Dolallytats Sat 22-Jun-13 18:16:52

My son would eat everything (spag bol, stews, chilli, homemade soups etc) that I made until he turned 2. He is now 5 and I cannot get him to eat these things again. He won't eat 'saucey' foods and although he eats some veg and fruit, it is quite limited. He also will not eat any meat apart from sausage (and even then it's hit and miss) and will only eat fishfingers.

I do try and dish up a variety of food, but feel disheartened when he won't touch it and I then revert back to his favourite of plain pasta with peas and ketchup on the side.

What can I do? It makes me really sad to see him eat plain pasta, rice or cous cous without anything on it when he used to eat anything.

Reastie Sat 22-Jun-13 18:38:26

My DD has a very good appetite for food but is very fussy as to what she will actually eat (mainly cheese/crackers/rice cakes/biscuits). She has been going up the centiles since weaning (born on 99th but went down to 8th. At weaning was around 25th and has been steadily increasing to 75th). Should I be worried about this?

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