What's good for breakfast?
Breakfast should include food such as porridge. This contains important carbohydrates and lets your toddler slowly release energy throughout the day. It is also very low in fat so he can eat as much as he likes.
Various companies offer breakfast cereals with fruity flavours for kids. They may contain high levels of hidden sugar that your toddler does not necessarily require. They could also cost more than ordinary fine rolled oats. If you're serving them to your toddler as an option occasionally, add milk to ensure your toddler gets his important daily amount of calcium.
Mid morning snack
Between breakfast and lunch, you may give your toddler a fruit or vegetable-based snack such as a banana, or slices of apple or pear, raw carrot chunks, cucumber or celery sticks, etc. You could also offer some dried fruit such as sultanas or raisins which will help their hand-eye co-ordination as they pick up the small fruit bits to put into their mouths.
Main meal of the day – Lunch or Dinner?
It is important that your toddler receives all the important nutrients in the entire food group at both lunch and dinner time. Depending on your lifestyle, you'll need to decide which will be his main meal of the day, lunch or dinner.
Lunch if not the main meal of the day could consist of something light such as homemade soup or noodles (dry or in soup). Other good options could include homemade fish balls or fish cakes, popiah or spring rolls, wanton in soup, or porridge with your kid's favourite ingredient, eg. Fish, chicken, etc. After lunch, you could offer him some fruit as a healthy dessert.
Dinner if chosen to be the main meal of the day, should contain protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. Give your toddler lots of vegetables with his dinner. Toddlers love peas, sweet potato, sweet corn and will usually eat any vegetable if it is mashed up with others. What food you offer to your toddler now will shape his eating habits for years to come.
Be adventurous & creative
Fish and meats should be soft and tender. Use suitable gravies and sauces to add taste and flavour to your dishes for your toddler. Pasta is also available in small bites which your toddler can easily take in and digest. A tin of chopped tomatoes, some chopped up vegetables and bits of chicken or mince, these are foods your toddler will love.
Expose your toddler to all kinds of food. Just because you don't like a particular food don't make him reject it as well.
Home-cooked vs store-bought
When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what you are putting into it. With store-bought jars of food, you're never sure about what goes inside each jar. And you'll be worrying about added artificial flavours, colouring, too much sugar, etc
Having said that, it may be convenient to keep a few jars handy for cases of emergency. But do check on the expiry date regularly and do not overstock.
Summary: Keep it natural!
Try and keep your toddler's diet as natural and pure as possible. Avoid using salt in his food. Instead, try using herbs and spices to flavour it. Think how rewarded and satisfied you'll be when your toddler eats up all the food you've prepared for him with a big happy smile!