Toddler Nutrition

Teaching a child to eat

The benefits of toddler nutrition go beyond simply meeting their nutritional requirements for their age.  We can help you to ensure your child’s mealtime environment, food intake and meal patterns are setting them up for optimal nutrition throughout childhood and beyond.  The toddler years can be a challenge for parents as they navigate the world of feeding children and creating independent confident children. We’re here to help make that a little easier.

Fussy Eating

Fussy eating or picky eating in the toddler and pre-schooler years can be a huge source of frustration to many parents. Food “neophobia” or a fear of new foods is generally a normal part of childhood. However, when a child starts to remove whole food groups from their diet it can affect some of their nutrient stores. We can work together to review your current mealtime environment and your child’s readily accepted foods. We can provide support to help reduce the stress at the mealtimes and broaden your child’s range of accepted foods. We work with families to create a positive feeding environment.

Constipation

Constipation is when bowel motions (or ‘poos’) are firm or hard to pass.  It can be common for children to develop constipation during their toddler and pre-schooler years as they develop more independence with their food and fluid intake.  Common causes include, a low fibre diet, inadequate fruit of vegetable intake due to picky eating, and not drinking enough water.  Remedies can include dietary changes, and we can work with you to optimise your child’s diet to prevent or to treat constipation.

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is a concern in infants, toddlers and children as iron is a key nutrient involved in brain development, immune function, growth and development.  If your child has been diagnosed with an iron deficiency or iron deficiency anaemia, they may be prescribed iron from their GP (family doctor)  to help correct the deficiency and improve their iron stores.  We can review the dietary sources of iron, meal patterns, and the modifiers to iron bio-availability. We can work together to improve the iron in your toddlers or preschooler’s diet to maintain adequate iron stores.

Faltering growth

Faltering growth can occur with problem feeders, multiple food allergies, or due to a range of medical conditions.  Many health professionals suggest a dietetic assessment of food and calorie intake when growth is a concern.  We can review the food and growth history of your child, and work with you to modify your child’s diet to support their growth.  We can support you with a food first approach to improving calorie or energy intake.  Our dietitians have an extended scope of practice to include prescribing rights for special foods, so we can prescribe nutrition supplement drinks when it is necessary.  

Family meals

It’s very common for families to cycle through the same 7-10 meals on a regular basis.  Many families find having family meals a challenge with work schedules.  We can work together to evaluate your current family meals, provide support to broaden the range of flavours, textures, colours and nutrients that are provided by your existing typical family meals.  We can work with you and your family to optimise the meal time environment and range of foods offered as part of the family meals.

Food allergies

For many families, when a child is diagnosed with a food allergy it has an impact on the whole family’s diet.  Many families are confused about how to cater for multiple food allergies, or how to manage meal times when only some of the family members have a food allergy. We can work with you to learn how to read food labels, minimise cross-contamination, find alternative foods and meal ideas, and ensure your child receives optimum nutrition regardless of their allergy.   Please note: Auckland Family Nutrition do not offer allergy testing. Please see your GP for a referral to a paediatrician or immunology/allergy specialist. We can work with your child once you have an allergy diagnosis and allergy management plan from your paediatrician or allergy specialist.

Asperger’s or Autism Spectrum Disorder

For children who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s or on the autism spectrum, families know all too well how restrictive individual food preferences are.  We can work with you so that over time your child (and family’s meals) can broaden in variety.  We can assess the current meal patterns and typical food intake, then determine if there are any specific nutrients lacking in the diet. The changes to broaden the range of foods usually require a longer period to achieve results as changes are made very gently.

Get Started!

Book a consultation and find out how to get on your way to nutritious meals for a healthy family.