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Feeding Your Toddler and Preschooler

Offer your toddler or preschooler a variety of foods from each food group found in Canada’s Food Guide in different flavours, textures and colours. Healthy eating provides the energy and essential nutrients children need to grow, develop and be active. Breast milk is still an important source of nutrition for your toddler until two years of age and beyond. If you have stopped breastfeeding, offer whole (homogenized 3.25% M.F.) cow’s milk until two years of age. After the age of two, toddlers can begin to drink the same milk as the rest of the family.

Sometimes children are very hungry or not hungry at all. This is normal. Your job is to decide what, when and where to offer food. Your child’s job is to decide if he/she wants to eat and how much. This helps children to learn their hunger and fullness cues. Keep meal and snack times a pleasant family time. Set a good example of healthy eating for your children.

Tips for Building Healthy Habits:

  • Provide a healthy meal or snack every two to three hours
  • Seat your child at the table for meals and snacks without any distractions (TV, toys, etc)
  • Let your child feed him/her self
  • Give your child enough time to eat – 20 to 30 minutes
  • Allow your child to ask for more food or not eat at all
  • Eat with your child as often as possible as children learn through role modelling


NutriSTEP® Nutrition Screening Tool for Every Toddler and Preschooler is a self-administered questionnaire that can help parents identify how their child is doing in terms of nutrition. For more information about NutriSTEP, click here.

Questions on Healthy Eating?

Call a Halimand-Norfolk Public Health Dietitian at: 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 or call Eat Right Ontario at: 1-877-510-5102.

Last updated January 2016

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