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Food habits change rapidly as your infant grows. Within the first two years, your baby will have begun teething, moved on to solid foods, and more or less integrated with family mealtimes.
Your child will have begun eating solid foods as they start teething. They are impatient and even flighty around mealtimes.
At one and a half years (18 months), toddlers usually manage to handle a spoon to feed themselves.
By 24 months, your child will have joined the grown-ups table as a regular!
A toddler’s eating habits and tastes are only being established as he first starts eating solid foods. This is the time when parents should strive to build a healthy eating habit.
- Delay your child’s introduction to fast food and sweetened aerated drinks, and help build a preference for fresh, wholesome food.
- Stick to strict meal timings. Establishing a routine will lead to your child developing a fixed mealtime by getting hungry at the right time.
- Do not feed your child heavy snacks or lots of liquid rights before mealtime.
- Each meal should last for 20 minutes and no longer.
While a balanced diet is essential for us, children need a boost of nourishment that helps them grow.
1. Dairy Products
Milk, yoghurt, and paneer are all rich in calcium. Calcium helps build strong bones. In case your child is lactose intolerant, he may need to take calcium supplements to make up for a gap in the calcium intake.
Chicken and other non-vegetarian foods contain good quantities of easily absorbable iron. Iron helps power haemoglobin in the blood and prevents anaemia. Iron found in vegetarian food is harder for the body to absorb, and hence your child will need to consume at least twice as much of it to get the required amount.
Fish is a good source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs help builds immunity and strengthens the cardiovascular system. Vegetarians will need proper substitution of EFA sources, as it is not produced in the body and can only be gained externally.
4. Healthy Oils
Flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and other nuts and their oil contain reasonable amounts of EFAs.
Carrots are famous as a rich source of vitamin A. Spinach, kale, and other vegetables also contain high levels of Vitamin A. It is essential to include foods rich in different vitamins in your child’s diet. Vitamin A helps in bone development.
6. Citrus Fruits
Lemons and oranges are renowned for their vitamin C content. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to serious diseases like scurvy. Vitamin C helps in strengthening gums and blood vessels and recovering from bruises. Guavas, mangos, bananas, tomatoes, and spinach also contain Vitamin C.
Although this isn’t technically a food, it is something the body absorbs, so we have decided to include it in this list, considering the integral role it plays in growth. The element we gain from sunshine is vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for a child to achieve his maximum growth potential. Foods that contain vitamin D are fish and dairy products.
Magnesium and potassium, both elements that are essential for cardiac health, and muscle condition are found in bananas. Incorporate this beneficial fruit into cereals and other foods to make it a staple.
|Sunday||Poha/Upma with vegetables/ sprouts/ peanuts and milk/ curd||Cup of milk||Curry made with any pulses or rice and dahi||Paneer cutlet with milk||Aloo matar with missi roti|
|Monday||Dosa or Moong dal cheela with added vegetables and curd||Seasonal Fruits||Mixed vegetables curry with chapatti||Fruit milkshake||Chapatti with soya chunks fried|
|Tuesday||Egg roll in roti or egg rice||Vegetable soup||Veg biryani with cucumber sticks||Boiled corn or boiled peanuts||Vegetable khichdi with curd
|Wednesday||Idli and sambar||Almonds/ raisins||Aloo parantha with dahi||Fruits||Boiled chicken with rice|
|Thursday||Ragi porridge with chopped nuts||Fruit||Chana Dal Khichdi with curd
|Upma with curd/ milk
|Vegetable soup with 2 cutlets (veg or non-veg)|
|Friday||Oats cooked in milk||Fruit smoothie or custard||Chole curry with chapattis||Oats khichdi||Sambar with rice|
|Saturday||Vegetable parantha||Vegetable soup with moong||Paneer Pulao||Omlette or cheese-chapati roll||Vegetable pulao with dahi|
Here are some select recipes from the food chart that may not be too familiar to you.
1. Moong Dal Cheela
A power-packed start to your day!
- 1 cup moong dal
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder½ teaspoon roasted cumin
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- Finely chopped green chillis
- A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
How to Prepare
- Soak the moong dal in water overnight.
- Drain the water and grind with adequate water to form a thick paste – similar to dosa batter.
- Add spices to the batter and mix well.
- Add the seasoning and a pinch of hing, and mix again.
- Allow the batter to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat butter in a non-stick pan and spread the batter like you would a dosa.
2. Coconut Chutney
A traditional accompaniment to dosas and idlis!
- ½ cup fresh grated coconut
- 2 tablespoons fried yellow gram
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 green chillis
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ teaspoon mustard
- 1 dried red chilli
- ¾ teaspoon urad dal
- Curry leaves
How to Prepare
- Blend all the ingredients except the seasoning together.
- Add water and salt (to taste) while blending.
- In a few drops of oil heated in a pan, saute the seasonings.
- Add the blended chutney to the seasoning and turn off the heat. Serve with idli or dosa.
3. Chana Dal Khichdi
A simple recipe that uses very little seasoning and embraces the natural flavour of chana.
- 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder
- 1 pinch of asafoetida
- ½ cup of rice
- ½ cup chana dal
- Oil, water, salt
How to Prepare
- Soak the rice for 30 minutes prior to preparation.
- The chana dal should be soaked for 4-5 hours, prior to preparation. (If time does not permit, you may soak it in hot water for about 30 minutes)
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add the seasoning.
- Add the rinsed chana dal with salt to taste and stir.
- Add 1 cup of water and cook under pressure for 6 minutes or 2 whistles.
- After it has cooled down, add the rice and cook for 1 or 2 whistles.
4. Paneer Cutlet
Paneer provides a boost of protein and calcium to the common vegetable cutlet and gives a uniquely soft texture to the cutlet too.
- 2 pinches of turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- 200gms paneer
- 150gms potato
- 100gms carrot
- 1/3 cups peas
- Paste: 1 green chilli
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1-inch slice of ginger
- 3 tablespoons rice flour
- 3 tablespoons rava
- 3 tablespoons oil
How to Prepare
- Cut the green chilli, garlic and ginger, and grind to a paste.
- Peel and cut the vegetables and cook for up to 4 whistles in a pressure cooker, with 2 cups of water.
- Drain the water when cooled and transfer the cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl.
- Mash the vegetables, add the paste and seasoning, and mix well.
- Add the paneer (Paneer should be crumbled or grated).
- Add 3 tablespoons of rice flour and salt to taste, and mix again.
- Take small portions of the mixture and shape into patties.
- Coat with rava and fry in a shallow pan until both sides are golden brown. Serve with ketchup or chutney.
5. Soya Chunks Fry
A healthy and tasty dish that is simple to make. It goes great with both chapattis and rice!
- 1/2 cup soya chunks
- 2 onions, shredded
- 2 green chillis, slit
- 1 big piece of ginger cut into thin strips
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 Tsp garam masala
- 1/2 Tsp chaat masala
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tomato, finely chopped
- Coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons oil
How to Prepare
- Immerse the soya in hot water for about 20 minutes.
- In a pan, saute the onions in oil.
- Once the onions are golden-brown, add the garlic and ginger.
- Add the green chillis and then the tomatoes.
- As the mixture cooks, add the seasoning and mix well. Turn off the flame.
- Now, drain the soya chunks (You may need to squeeze them with the help of a sieve to drain them well).
- Add the soya chunks to the mixture and begin cooking again.
- Add salt to taste and mix the contents of the pan thoroughly so that the soya chunks are well coated with the masala (You can also add a bit of lemon juice to this, for a hint of tanginess).
- Cook in a pan till the soya chunks are browned.
- Turn off the flame and garnish with plenty of finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve warm.
- While providing healthy food for 2-year-old baby do not fixate on the amounts eaten. This will change from child to child and between different days and mealtimes.
- A 2-year-old toddler’s food requirement does not have to include artificial supplements.
- Indian baby food recipes for a 2-year-old can be spicy. If your child is fussy about this, you can experiment with reducing the amount of seasoning, especially red chilli powder.
- Give your child notice before every mealtime. This gets them thinking about food and builds up an appetite.
- Have the food ready and plated for mealtime when your child arrives.
- Do not punish or reward your child’s eating habits as it can create a problematic attitude towards food and harm your child’s relationship with food.
- Don’t allow your toddler to watch T.V. during mealtime, as he needs to focus on the food. Talk to him instead and include him in conversations with all the family members.
Eating nutritious food that is fresh and doesn’t contain preservatives is seen by many as something that takes too much effort, but with the right motivation, it can be a habit and not a chore!
- Look out for allergies. Your child could be allergic to certain nuts, grains or dairy products. Make sure you avoid these food items and consult your doctor about the allergies.
- When introducing your toddler to new foods, you should ensure that you introduce new food one at a time as this will make it easier for you to check for allergies and help you understand your child’s preferences.
- If your child is suffering from diarrhoea, don’t stop feeding him. Consult a doctor and feed him foods that are nutritious and can control the diarrhoea.
- Don’t force-feed your toddler. Toddlers can be fussy with food, be patient and know when he has eaten enough.
Resources & References:
Previous Year: 1 Year Old Baby Food Chart