Now when your toddler has turned 18 months old, you will find him throwing more tantrums during mealtime. A plain glass of milk with biscuits is not enough for him. Your toddler wants more options in food as his tastebuds are growing. He will be more than happy if you offer him a variety of foods. This is the best time to introduce healthy snacks in his meal as it will go a long way to meet his nutritional requirements as well as look forward to mealtimes.
At the age of 18 months, your baby needs the following nutrients
1. Fats and Carbs: As your little one is growing, his appetite would not be as high as it used to be earlier. So it is essential to ensure that he gets an accurate amount of fats and carbs on daily basis. Serve him butter or ghee to meet the fat requirement.
2. Iron: To ensure the proper functioning of your tot’s immune system, you must include iron-rich foods in your diet. Include veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale regularly in his meals.
3. Calcium: Calcium is another important nutrient for your toddler’s teeth and bone development. Add dairy products, broccoli, kale to your baby’s diet. Milk is important for a growing child, so include milk in your child’s diet.
4. Protein: Protein is an essential nutrient for a growing tot. It is important for the good health of your child’s skin, hair, nails, muscles, and bones. So make sure you include protein-rich foods in your child’s snacks and lunch. Some protein-rich foods that you can give to your toddler include dairy products, eggs, meat, nuts, beans, etc.
The portion size of a toddler around 18 months is lesser than what he consumed earlier. Therefore, it is necessary to match a calorie intake of about 1.2 kilocalories than focusing on the quantity of food.
Best Food Options for an 18-month-old baby
1. Milk and milk products: If your child is still breastfeeding, it’s the best. But if he is not you must give him cows or buffalo milk. It is essential to the healthy development of the teeth and bones of your child. Make sure your little one drinks a cup of milk daily. He should learn to drink milk as well as water from a cup instead of a bottle now.
2. Fruits: Your child’s day must start with a power ack breakfast, and the great way to do so is to make sure he gets all the essential nutrients. Fruits are one of the most essential sources of vitamins and minerals. Don’t refrain from giving dry fruits as well as they are healthy too. Once in a while, you can give fruit purees, but don’t give fruit purees or fruit juices daily as they are not high in fiber and won’t be beneficial for your child’s health. Give him cut fruits now and then.
3. Meat and Eggs: Meat and eggs are the best source of protein and pairing these both together can meet your child’s protein requirement. You can serve chunks of fish, chicken, soya, beans, cashew nuts, eggs, and so on. Giving this combination every alternate day of the week will benefit your child. But if you notice any signs of food allergy in your child, stop giving these foods together.
4. Ghee and Butter: Ghee is the best for your child’s health. In the growing years of life, you must give him ghee daily. You can make parathas in ghee or even add it to khichdi. A dollop of ghee can be very nutritious for your child, so make it a part of his daily diet.
5. Vegetables: You must encompass veggies in your child’s diet. If your child doesn’t like vegetables, you can make finger food for him. You can make baked carrot sticks or mashed potatoes. Also, include leafy vegetables in his diet.
6. Cheese : Along with milk, you can also include other dairy products in his diet. Kids love to eat cheese and cottage cheese, so give these to your kiddo without worrying. Different varieties of cheese along with yoghurt provide probiotics and other nutrients that simple whole milk may not always do.
7. Whole Grains : The benefits of consuming whole-grain food items may not be visible instantly but they take place internally over time. Instead of giving him calorie-rich cereals or white bread, give him whole wheat bread or whole-grain cereals.
18-Month-Old Food Menu
Here are some food options that you can include in your 18 months old baby menu :
Breakfast: French Toast, Dried Nuts, Boiled Eggs, Oats Chilla, Pancakes, Milk Shake.
Mid-Morning: Mashed Potato, fruits, juice, boiled vegetable sticks, dhokla, smoothies
Lunch: Roti, dal, sabji, salad, beetroot, cucumber, rice, curd or raita
Evening : Milk, milk shake, smoothies, fruits, cookies, semolina chilla, dhokla, dalia
Dinner: Pav bhaji, idli with chutney, began chilla, sabzi roti, dal rice, soup, rajma salad, paneer cutlet, grilled fish.