Thursday, 24 March 2011

Is your toddler a Foodie Fan or Mini Muncher?

I found this piece of research fascinating. Pierre is currently a Contrary Kid but he used to be a Foodie Fan so I'm hoping it's just a passing phase, probably signalling the start of the Terrible Twos. God help us !! Which category do your toddlers fall into ?

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UK parents concerned they’re not fulfilling their toddler’s nutritional needs

Nine out of ten (92%) UK parents admit they’re not confident they know what their toddler’s healthy diet should consist of, reveals new research. Two fifths (39%) go further admitting they’re not convinced their child has a healthy balanced diet, receiving all the nutrients they require.

The research conducted by SMA Nutrition to identify toddlers eating habits confirms Government statistics, highlighting that just one in ten (11%) toddlers achieve their recommended intake of vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and development. Iron and vitamin D are two of the key nutrients toddlers maybe deficient in.



Is your toddler a Foodie Fan or Mini Muncher?

To help parents understand their toddlers eating habits, SMA Nutrition has identified four different typologies to coincide with the launch of new SMA Toddler Milk:

Almost half (47%) of parents feel their toddler is an adventurous Foodie Fan. These toddlers are happy to try new food and have a somewhat sophisticated palate for their years

Nearly one in three (33%) parents admit their toddler is a Contrary Kid who can be unpredictable when it comes to their ever changing mealtime likes and dislikes

For one in ten (9%) parents, their toddlers are the Stubborn Stompers of the bunch. These rather smart or headstrong toddlers seem to know exactly what foods they do and don’t like without even tasting them

A small minority (8%) of parents confess that their toddler is a Mini Muncher. This group will do anything to avoid eating at the table, preferring to snack their way through the day



Despite lots of different typologies, the research shows that parents’ worries are universal. So, to aid parents with the rollercoaster that can be meal times, SMA Nutrition has teamed up with Eileen Hayes, parenting and behaviour expert who comments:

“Almost all parents know only too well that moment when a lovingly prepared meal is completely rejected by their toddler. It is important to realise that all children have certain preferences and it can take many times trying new foods before a toddler will accept it.’


Filling the Nutritional Gap

The launch of new SMA Toddler Milk will also help to put parents’ minds at rest as just one 200 ml serving will provide up to 50% of a toddler’s daily requirement for key vitamins and minerals. SMA Toddler Milk helps to plug the nutritional gaps in toddlers’ diets delivering iron, zinc, vitamins A & D and Omega 3 & 6, which are all required by growing toddlers.


SMA Nutritionist Anne Sidnell comments, “Toddlers’ diets can be extremely varied and parents are concerned, as the research has shown, but whether you have a foodie fan or a mini muncher it’s hard to know if your toddler is getting the right amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. New SMA Toddler Milk aims to bridge any nutritional gaps in a toddler’s diet and alongside a varied diet hopefully puts to rest any concerns parents may have. SMA Toddler Milk can be used as a drink and also in recipes. ”


 
Parenting and behaviour expert Eileen’s Hayes provides her top 5 tips to happy toddler mealtimes :

1. Don’t make a battle over food - try to be laid-back and let your child’s appetite control the amount they eat

2. Offer a new food alongside some favourites - it can take more than 10 times trying a new food, before they get to like it

3. Think about how the food looks - a smiley face pizza for example, and also about the texture. A child might enjoy a raw carrot, but not like them cooked

4. Try to sit and eat with your child so it becomes an enjoyable family occasion, and they can learn from watching you eat

5. As they gets older let your child help prepare the meal as this can make them much more interested

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If you have any other top tips, please share them below. I've noticed Pierre eats a lot more if I let him feed himself, even if he makes a huge mess and ends up wearing as much as he eats !

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