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One-Day Toddler Menu

Getting children to eat well balanced, healthy meals can be challenging. And while we all have the best of intentions as parents, it’s certainly easy to order in pizza or give our children a snack that may not be the best choice. Healthy eating should be a goal at the earliest of ages.

Cristina Caro, a program coordinator for the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has put together a one-day menu for toddlers. This is based on “Fit Kids” tips for variety of foods, textures, and colors as well as USDA dietary guidelines.

For additional information, see the USDA dietary guidelines, below.

Sample One-Day Toddler Menu:

Breakfast

1/2 cup oatmeal 1/2 cup orange juice 3 apple slices

Snack:

6 baby carrots 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt 1/2 cup water

Lunch:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, comprised of 1 slice whole grain bread, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 tablespoon jelly 1/2 small banana 1/2 cup milk

Snack:

1/2 cup ready-to-eat whole grain cereal 1/2 cup water

Dinner:

2 oz grilled chicken breast 1/4 cup corn 1/4 cup green beans 1/4 cup rice 1 cup low-fat milk

Dietary guidelines for toddlers (adapted from www.mypyramid.gov):

Grains: 3 ounces per day 1 ounce = 1 slice bread = 1/2 bagel = 5 crackers = 1/2 muffin = 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal = 1/2 cup cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal (or 1 packet instant) = 1 pancake = 1 small tortilla

Vegetables: 1 cup per day 1/2 cup vegetables = 4 ounces vegetable juice = 1 cup raw leafy greens (romaine, spinach, greens) = 1 medium carrot or 6 baby carrots = 1 large stalk of celery = 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables = 1/2 medium baked potato

Fruits: 1 cup per day 1/2 cup fruit = 1/2 cup sliced or chopped, raw, or cooked fruit = 4-ounce snack container applesauce or mixed fruit = 1 small banana = 16 seedless grapes = 1 large plum = 1/4 cup dried fruit or small box raisins (1.5 ounces) = 4 ounces 100 percent juice

Milk: 2 cups per day 1/4 cup milk = 1/2 cup cottage cheese 1/3 cup milk = 1 slice processed American cheese = 1 scoop ice cream 1/2 cup milk = 1 slice hard cheese = snack size (4 ounces) pudding or yogurt

Meat and beans: 3 ounces per day: 1 ounce = 1/4 cup cooked dry beans or peas = 1 egg = 1 tablespoon of peanut butter = 2 tablespoons hummus = 1 tablespoon nuts or seeds = 1 slice deli meat = 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or fish

Fit Kids of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a six-week family education class or “lifestyle makeover” designed for overweight kids and their families.

“Our goal is to guide families in developing healthier eating habits, increasing physical activity and building self-esteem,” Caro says. Fit Kids is designed to promote lasting lifestyle changes that will enhance health for everyone in the family. Launched in 1996, the Fit Kids program has served more than seven hundred families.

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