Do you ever worry about how much food your toddler is eating? You look at that huge mountain on the floor and wonder if they’re getting enough calories to do all that growing, running and learning?
This post is bought to you by the Infant Toddler Forum. All opinions are my own and I highly recommend the Tot It Up Challenge to parents who want to know how much food their toddlers are eating.
Or perhaps you know you’re offering your toddler a balanced diet but they just pick out all the pasta to eat and leave the veggies untouched on the plate. Then you worry that they aren’t consuming enough of the healthy stuff?
You may know all about a balanced diet, but is your toddler actually eating one?
It can be difficult to tell.
You’re not alone. These are 2 really common situations that people tell me about frequently.
But here’s an interesting fact.
Most of us are offering our kids too much food.
79% of parents are routinely offering their toddlers bigger portions when serving popular meals, drinks and treats.
57% of parents are likely to offer their toddler more than they need when serving Spaghetti Bolognese.
36% of parents are likely to offer too much when serving chicken nuggets and chips.
These statistics may be specific to toddlers but the idea applies to all children.
As parents we offer more of the food that we know they’ll eat (aka the not so healthy food) and less of the healthy stuff because we know they won’t eat it anyway right?
It should be the other way around. We should be offering lots of the good healthy fruit and vegetables and smaller portions of the “easy to eat calorie laden not so healthy food”.
And here’s the most interesting statistic.
73% of parents are concerned that their kids don’t eat enough.
We are a nation of feeders!
I suspect that there is an deep rooted psychological need to feed our children that has evolved over centuries of living in times of scarcity. (Even if you lived in historical times of “plenty” those times weren’t plentiful compared to current standards.)
Now food is not only plentiful it is easy to obtain and often doesn’t require any preparation.
So what does this all mean for your toddler?
It means that you’re likely to worry that your toddler isn’t eating enough food but they probably are. It means that you’re likely to offer them larger portions than they need. It means that you’re likely to offer them more of the not so healthy foods and less of the good stuff like fruit and vegetables.
So what can you do?
You can have a look at what they actually consume. The Infant Toddler Forum has come up with a great tool and challenge called the Tot It Up Challenge.
You input everything your toddler eats and it tells you how much they’re eating of each food group.
I’ve been using it to look at what my twins eat and not only is it easy to use, it’s really interesting and helpful to look at the results.
Sounds cool doesn’t it?
You can use it too.
Register for an account here (it’s free).
Then start putting in what they actually eat every day and how much activity they do. (Tip. I would write down what they eat during the day as if your brain is getting old and weary like mine I found it really difficult to remember later on.)
You can get a summary of what they have eaten each day with little hints to help you improve.
So this tool will tell you EXACTLY whether they are getting enough or not. Or if they are getting too much.
It doesn’t look at what you actually offer so don’t feel bad if your offer broccoli and they don’t eat it. You might be surprised to see that they’ve eaten enough fruit and vegetables anyhow during the rest of the day, or you might considered offering 2 types of vegetables instead of one. I always say that the more you offer, the more chances you’re creating for them to eat veggies.
Share with a Friend
This tool is really helpful for you to have an objective look at your child’s diet but it’s also part of a nationwide study to get a picture of toddler eating habits. So if you have friends who are also worried about their toddler’s diets, please share it with them. You’ll be helping your friend and the study.
Sign Up And Share
In case you missed it. Here’s where you sign up. They also have a great resource on toddler portion sizes so check that out once you have your account.
The Tot It Up Challenge will give you the answer and confidence you’re looking for. It will either put your mind at rest, or show you where you need to improve. You won’t need to worry about that mountain of food on the floor, or those untouched vegetables. You’ll know exactly what your tot is consuming.