It is important for parents to help their kids develop a healthy attitude toward eating at an early age. Right about now he is likely to use eating or not eating as a way to be defiant, although generally, mealtimes with your child should be more manageable as he grows older. Parents can then start to enjoy family meals with a little less drama!
It is okay if your child has strong preferences for certain food. You can always encourage him to try new ones without forcing him. What’s more important is offering nutritious food choices at every meal, giving him leeway on how much he wants to eat.
Your 3-year-and-1-month-old child’s daily nutritional need is about:
- Boys: 1,496 Kcal/day
- Girls: 1,404 Kcal/day
Their nutrition should be composed of the following:
Your little one is growing fast! That’s why your child needs one serving of protein (in total, around 28g) each day. One serving equals one cup of tuna, 4 oz of chicken breast or 4 hard-boiled eggs.
Your child needs about three (100g) cups of fruits everyday. One cup of fruit equals one cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, half (1/2) cup dried fruit, half (1/2) of a large apple, one eight- or nine-inch banana, or one medium grapefruit.
If your child wants to drink fruit juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars.
Vegetables are an important source of nutrients for your growing child. At this stage, your child requires 1.5 cups (150g) of vegetables every day. One cup of vegetables equals one cup of cooked or raw vegetables, two cups of raw leafy greens, one large tomato, or two medium carrots.
Aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others, each week. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.
Grains are rich in carbohydrates, which your child needs plenty of at this stage. Make sure to give him/her a minimum of three ounces of grains every day. One ounce of grains equals one slice of bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or half (1/2) cup of cooked pasta or cooked cereal.
Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice.
Milk is packed with nutrients, and your child should drink a minimum of 16 ounces a day. You may also substitute one cup of milk with one cup of yogurt or soy milk , 1½ ounces of natural cheese (around the size of four stacked dice), or two ounces of processed cheese (around the size of five stacked dice).
Here’s what you child needs every day (refer above for what the amounts look like):
- Fruits: 3 cups for boys and girls
- Vegetables: 1.5 cups for boys and girls
- Grains: 3 ounces for boys and girls
- Proteins: 28g for boys and girls
- Milk: 16 ounces for boys and girls
- Water: 1,200mL for boys and girls
Remember that your child’s meals don’t have to be fancy. In fact, they might actually prefer a more simple preparation.