Answer: follow the following tips for planning a healthy menu for your toddler.
The trick is to simply add at least 1 item from each group through out the day. Ofcourse you can use a particular group more than 2 times too. but in order to maintain variety in terms of taste and nutrition , its important to plan from each group. Ex – you can plan for rice in the afternoon and oats in the evening menu. both the items belong to the cereal group and are equally healthy .Make your choices of food from the given food group more interesting for the kid. Ex – instead of feeding your baby with rice and milk every day , introduce variety . Plan for rice and curd , or lightly lemon flavored rice, mix rice with mung dal from pulses group to add protein and variety to your kids menu.After your kid turns 15 – 16 months old, you can mix up 2 or more food groups together. Ex – Oats porridge with apple. Here Oats cover the cereal group , Milk will cover up for protein and apple will cover the fruits group. some kids with good digestibility can tolerate the mixed groups concept right from 12 month on wards.Cereal Group – This group includes cereals like Rawa (semolina), Ragi, Rice , Oats , wheat and its products like brown bread , wheat based biscuits. These cereals are easy to digest. Initially its best to grind the food product , or mash it well to avoid choking. some kids take time to learn to chew.Milk and Milk Products Group – As the name suggests this group includes all varieties with milk . Cows milk has the best digestibility. Hence it is preferable to give you kids cow’s milk. You can later introduce him with milk products like cheese , curd, buttermilk and paneer. Cheese on brown bread is a good snacking option for your 2+ year old toddler. They relish it.Non – Vegetarian Protein Group – This group includes chicken , eggs and fish . I would really recommend you to start your kid a little late with fish . May be after he is 2 + . This will ensure his digestion capacity. It is not that kids do not eat fish before this age . There are individual differences and food preferences. All you need to do is ensure about your kids digestion capacity , and allergic reactions to these foods.Dals And Pulses Group – Start with easily digestible dals like mung dal . once they are tolerated well by the kid, you can then move forward to slowly introduce her with all the other varieties of dals , and pulses. make sure the first time you try any new pulse , it should be diluted enough. If your baby has any sign of intolerance towards these foods , like change in color of stool , hard stool or watery stool or gases or stomach ache after the intake, reintroduce the food after a week in a diluted form Fruits and vegetables – The fruits and vegetables that are mentioned under the groups in the above info graphic diagram, can be used in any form . you can mash the fruits , make juice out of it , pressure cook the fruit for 1 whistle and then mash it (apple). or you can hand over them as slices to your kids. So they also learn to eat on their own . you can use vegetables in soup forms or cooked vegetable form , just the way you consume it at home. make sure you add little or no spices to the preparation. You can introduce the spices and masala for the baby after she is 2.5 + years of age.Fats and Sugars – this group is placed in the center on purpose. although you need to use very little amount of fats and sugar for your toddler , but please do not ignore this group . your baby really needs good fats for better digestion. don’t forget that these little ones also require tasty foods just like us. you can add sugar or jaggery to their food preparations.