Inspired by parents for parents: NEW toddler meal planner helps families get the daily balance right in the fight to combat childhood obesity
The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) - an expert-led, not for profit organisation specialising in early years nutrition and development – recently launched an innovative resource inspired by parents, and designed to help parents and carers simplify planning meals for their toddlers. Solving the challenge of which foods, how often and how much, the Toddler Meal Planner helps to get the balance right whilst at the same time encouraging healthy habits for life.
Against a backdrop of rising childhood obesity rates and Boris Johnson’s ‘war on obesity’, the much-needed Toddler Menu Planner can help parents and carers feed their toddlers the right balance of foods and nutrients at a critical time in their development, reducing the potential harm caused by poor eating habits later on in life. The resource also aims to support and empower the 39% of parents who don’t feel confident about what to feed their toddler.
The Toddler Menu Planner is the tangible result of one of the biggest ideas sharing activities in the UK. Born out of the ITF’s rallying call to parents to share their ideas for turning evidence-based guidance on feeding toddlers into an easy and practical resource that, addresses:
• Which types of foods in the right balance - carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables
• How often different types food should be offered each day
• How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions!
Specially developed to meet the nutrient needs of rapidly growing children (1-4 year olds) and packed with useful info and helpful tools, it includes:
• 67 tasty and nutritious toddler recipes developed by a Paediatric Dietitian
• A 14-day meal planner featuring easy toddler meal ideas and healthy toddler snacks
• Photos of the recommended toddler portion size for each recipe and snack ideas for children
• Guidance on how to combine a variety of meals and snacks to ensure that your toddler receives a balanced diet every day
• Tips and tricks on saving money on groceries, ordering and shopping for food
Results from a small four-week pilot proves the measurable impact of the Toddler Menu Planner resource:
• 95% agree or strongly agree that the Toddler Menu Planner ‘makes it easier to plan and prepare healthy meals for toddlers’
• 63% of parents felt increased confidence when planning meals for their child
• 63% of parents experienced a decrease in annoyance when planning meals for their child
• 40% increase in healthier food choices for kids
• 30% reduction in excessive portion sizes at mealtimes
The Toddler Menu Planner resource is supported by a number of leading early years organisations, including: London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), Early Years Alliance (EYA), and Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY).
Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist at the Infant & Toddler Forum comments: “Parents told us what they wanted and we listened! We are thrilled to launch the Toddler Menu Planner resource after almost two years in the making and are encouraged to see from the pilot study the real difference it makes to the toddler meal planning experience – both for parents and toddlers. We know from our research that the early years present a critical window of opportunity to help shape healthy eating habits for today’s and tomorrow’s children and through the launch of the Toddler Menu Planner, we hope to reach as many families as possible to help reverse the childhood obesity trend”.
The Toddler Menu planner is priced at £4.99 and is available to download here.