From one, children can have cow's milk as a drink. So if you have been giving formula you can switch to whole cow's milk if you wish. You can also start introducing a cup for milk at this stage. As the amount of milk (breast, formula or cow's milk) your one year old is drinking will have reduced it is advisable to include plenty of calcium rich foods in their diet such as yoghurt, fromage frais, cheese, custard, hummus (sesame seeds which are in tahini are high in calcium), green leafy veg, almonds (so you can try almond butter) and salmon.
Each day your little one should have 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. Nutrients are needed for growth and development in your toddler so it is important that they eat a varied diet with a combination of food from the five food groups:
- They should have starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta etc. at every meal and snack
- Offer 1-2 portions of fruit or vegetables with each meal and some snacks
- Milk, yoghurt and cheese - 3 servings per day (a serving is 100-120ml milk, 125g pot of yogurt). There is however very little iron in this dairy group so if you are worried about the amount your little one is eating and are concerned about their iron intake it is advisable to give them 'growing up milk' which is high in iron
- Meat, fish, eggs, nuts (ground or in nut butters) and pulses should be offered 2-3 times per day. These foods tend to be high in protein and iron
- Vegetarian alternatives such as eggs, dhals, beans and nuts - 3 servings per day with a good source of vitamin C to help with iron absorption
- Foods high in fat such as oil and butter should be eaten in small amounts whilst foods high in fat and sugar (such as cakes, biscuits and puddings) should be eaten in moderation and not instead of the other groups.
When it comes to drinks, offer your little one water with each meal and snack(aiming for 6-8 drinks per day). Water and milk are the best drinks to have between meals. Fruit juice should be avoided because it can cause tooth decay. If, when your little one is a bit older, you do want to offer juice make sure you dilute it well and offer it only with meals. Fruit juice drinks, fizzy drinks, tea and coffee should be avoided.
Toddlers should avoid eating raw eggs, shellfish, large fish such as shark, marlin and swordfish and whole nuts and round foods that are a choking hazard.
In the UK it is recommended that toddlers are given a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A and D, and for poor eaters it is recommended to find a toddler multivitamin that contains iron, zinc and magnesium.
Finally, it's good to remember that toddlers tend not to eat well when they are tired, unwell/teething or when they are over hungry and they can be easily distracted by television, games and being in a new environment (especially if there are lots of other children around which they may find very exciting!).