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Independent child health experts the (ITF) believe they have developed guidance for parents that is ‘consistent, practical and simple’, tailored to the preparation of nutritional meals for toddlers.
The organisation’s ‘Guidance & Tips’ series is designed to enable for well-planned and cost effective meals and snacks that meet the objectives of a healthy diet and supports growth and physical development.
ITF member and paediatric dietician Judy More comments: “A well planned menu will provide meals and snacks with foods from all the food groups. It will make budgeting and shopping for food quick and easy and help parents and carers plan time for cooking and preparing foods. This latest Guidance & Tips includes advice on how to plan ahead to reduce preparation time and cost. It also provides a basic guide on how to stock the cupboards, fridge and freezer with food that can be quickly combined to make meals and snacks when nothing has been planned ahead.”
ITF Chair and paediatrician Atul Singhal also commented on the importance of parents being able to prioritise diet and nutrition at pre-school age: “The first few years are arguably the most important for long term health. Overweight and obesity are clearly a major public health issue, and as 70–90 per cent of obese nine-year-old children became overweight before they started school, the toddler and pre-school years are seen as the critical period for prevention.”
The guidance has been inspired by a poll of 1,000 mothers of early years children, aged nine months to three years, which recorded that 43 per cent of mums felt they had no clear advice on their child’s diet.