Over the last few weeks, we have all had to learn to adjust very quickly to our new working and home environments – this includes a changed food environment at home! You may find yourself having different eating patterns and also your little one may be wanting more snacks than usual!
But don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to help to settle and normalise eating occasions for your little one. The key is to relax as there is still plenty of nutritious food available and you can adapt to whatever approach is best for your family.
Public Health England recommends that from 12 months old, your toddler should be having 3 meals a day, but they also may need 2 healthy snacks in between meals to keep their energy levels topped up. Healthy snacks can include things like fruit, vegetables, houmous, or some boiled egg. Read more about healthy snacks for your toddler
However, Public Health England also state that babies under 12 months do not need snacks, if your baby appears hungry, you can offer extra milk feeds between meals instead.
Here are some top tips to normalise your new food environment at home:
Try as much as you can to keep a structured routine for your little one’s mealtimes. Plan a set time for daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as optional snacks in between.
If you think your little one wants a healthy snack, try offering a choice of 3 snacks and allowing them to pick one. This makes it more interactive and may make snack time more satisfying for them, meaning less pestering later!
Take advantage of more time with your little one and use this time to ensure mealtimes are a family occasion where you sit around the table together to eat.
Although tensions may be higher than normal, try not to offer snacks or food as a reward for good behaviour at home, as this may be counter-productive.
Keep food exploration a part of your little one’s ongoing food journey. Let them watch you cook, explore new tastes and textures together through activities such as potato painting!
No day will be perfect so it’s important not to feel the pressure, and make sure you are connected to your friends and family to share more top tips and ideas on feeding at home. We also would love to hear from you!