Healthy Eating for 6 to 24 month old children (3) Ready to go (12- 24 months)
Arranging daily meals
- Children need 3 meals plus 2 or 3 snacks a day;
- Parents should provide a healthy snack 2 to 3 hours after the main meal to top up her intake of energy and nutrients;
- Arranging your child to dine with the family;
- Organizing a regular meal schedule that matches with the family and the child's routines.
Sharing family dishes
- Provide choices in each meal by preparing 2 to 3 dishes with at least 3 to 4 kinds of food;
- Include both foods that she likes and foods that she is not familiar with or dislikes.
Q&A: My baby is sometimes picky with food and eats little. Does she get enough nutrients?
- Children's appetites change from day to day. Their likes and dislikes of food also vary. They will eat more on certain days and less on the other days;
- Offer your child foods from each food groups in appropriate proportion. Over a period of 1 to 2 weeks, she will get on average what she needs.
Tips for parents
- Sleepy children do not want to eat;
- Avoid giving frequent snacks as this may reduce your child's appetites for main meals.
Choosing snacks for your child
- Choose foods that are not usually included in family dishes;
- The portion size should be smaller than that in the main meals;
- Sweet foods should only be offered occasionally.
- Limit fruit juice to 120 ml day and offer juice in a cup. Juices or sugary drink are not alternatives to water.
- Read the nutrition labels for lower sugar, sodium and fat options when buying processed food.
- Fruits, milk, plain yoghurt or cheese, bread, sandwiches, oatmeal, steamed sweet potato and boiled corn can be offered to your child more often.
- Sweetened food should only be given occasionally. Examples are fruit yoghurt added with sugar, plain biscuits, muffin, fruit juice, raisins, breakfast cereals, Chinese bean dessert with kelp or tofu pudding etc.
Adequate water intake
- Offer your child water to drink after meals or snacks and after physical activities;
- When the weather is hot or your child has a fever, she needs more water;
- Put small cups filled with water in places within her reach so that your child can help herself.
- Drinking adequate water reduces problems with passing stool.
Q&A: How can I tell If my child has enough water?
His water intake is adequate if he passes urine once every 3 to 4 hours. The urine should be light in colour and the smell should not be strong.