Toddler: Food Preparation Guidelines
Before You Begin
- Wash your hands before you prepare any food, and wash your hands and your baby’s hands before you begin the meal.
- Make sure all equipment and the food preparation area are clean and sanitized.
- Thoroughly rinse all fruits and vegetables before you begin preparation. Do not use detergent or bleach; it is not necessary and can leave residues on some fruits and vegetables.
- Wash utensils and cutting board between different foods, especially between cutting raw and cooked foods
Food For Kids
- Toddlers can eat many foods as long as they are soft and cut into pieces that can be handled easily by little fingers. Avoid foods that kids can easily choke on like raisins, grapes, popcorn, pretzels, nuts, hard candies, hard pieces of fruits and vegetables, hotdogs or foods cut into a round shape.
- Think outside of the box when it comes to serving food to your toddler. Presenting food creatively and with lots of color can be the key to success. Try cutting foods into simple shapes and serve different colored foods to create a picture on your toddler’s plate. Allow your child to play with and mix different foods together himself.
- Do not “super-size” meals. Over feeding your child at an early age can lead to overeating later. See the “Feeding” section or always consult your toddler’s healthcare provider for guidance as to what is best for your toddler.
- Toddlers like to be involved with what you are doing. If possible, provide your toddler with his own set of food preparation utensils. Use actual utensils and not toys whenever safe and practical. Plastic measuring spoons and cups, spatulas and mixing bowls are a good start. It is not too early to let him contribute to dinner preparation, even if it is pretend, and it will keep him occupied while you cook.
- Serve foods without added butter, salt, sugar or other sauces. Children will enjoy plain foods; their taste buds are quite sensitive at this age. Plus, plain food is always cheaper and easier to prepare! If the family enjoys extra condiments, set aside a serving for your toddler before you season the food.
- Kids of all ages are more likely to snack on healthy food when vegetables and fruit are available in pre cut portions. Try to keep age appropriate snacks ready in the fridge.