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Although you can choose to carry on breastfeeding up to three times a day, you can now offer your little one cow’s milk in a cup as their main milk. Aim for three servings of milk-based food or drinks a day. This can include full-fat cheese, yogurt, fromage frais, or milk-based puddings and sauces or 300ml whole cow’s milk. See the section called ‘What sort of milk should my toddler have?’ after the meal guide for more about when to switch from breast milk to cow’s milk.
Milk and dairy – toddlers need lots of calcium for the development of bones and teeth, but this should now be coming from a range of sources. It might help to know that the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of calcium for children 1-3 years is 400mg/day. Keep giving them at least 300ml a day, offering 2-3 portions of dairy products like cheese, fromage frais and yogurt on top of this. Try to avoid giving too much dairy though (including yogurts) as your toddler may lose their appetite for other nutritious foods and not get the fibre they need to stay regular. Offer milk drinks at the end of a meal or with a snack.
Protein – meat, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses can be offered at each main meal.
Iron - baby’s natural iron store begins to drop by 6 months, therefore it’s best to start feeding them iron-enriched food. Chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or pork or veggie sources like legumes or eggs are all excellent options.
Starchy foods – like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta should be part of each main meal. You can give some wholegrain bread but try to avoid brown rice and wholegrain pasta as they’re high in fibre. Too much fibre can stop nutrients like calcium and iron being absorbed.
Cereals fortified with iron are still important. Add full-fat cow’s milk and some mashed fruit and always check the labels to avoid the ones with too much sugar or salt.. As for salt, make sure they have no more than 2g a day, or 0.8g of sodium.
Veg and fruit – vegetables can be fresh, frozen or tinned. Give your little one 3-5 servings every day, at least one with every meal. A serving is about 40g or a toddler-sized handful. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned. Aim for 2-3 servings a day. Offer one fruit snack between meals and one fruit and dairy-based dessert after a main meal.