The big day is almost upon us! I don’t; know about you, but I’ve personally been peeling the kids off the ceiling for weeks now. The excitement in this house has reached fever pitch and I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about it now! So as Christmas day approaches and I’ve finally finished work (HOORAY!) my thoughts are turning to Christmas dinner preparations. If you read this post, you’ll know that we don’t do the traditional ’12 people around a turkey’ Christmas day anymore. In fact, last year we made the decision to allow every person in our little family to choose their own Christmas dinner- 2016’s table was adorned with lasagne, pizza, hot dogs… Perfect. The thing is though, that I still want the little ones to have something of nutritional value for their dinner- especially seeing as there will be so many sweets and chocolates hanging around throughout the day. So I thought I’d share what’s on my toddler’s plate this Christmas.
Toddler portion sizes count
Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to work with the Infant and Toddler Forum to explore toddler portion sizes and to create new and interesting ways for parents to ensure their toddler was eating a balanced and healthy diet. You can see the fantastic winners of the competition here. Now that it’s Christmas, the Infant and Toddle Forum has stepped up to bring parents some up to date and easy to follow advice on creating a festive menu for toddlers, and I’ve used this to inform my meal planning for Elsie over the holidays. You can download the festive menu and tips here.
So, on to Elsie. She has dietary requirements, in that she is still dairy free thanks to a cow’s milk protein allergy. We’ve tried the milk ladder a few times, on the dietician’s advice, but we’ve never seen it through to the end because her allergy symptoms flare up. She’s recently experienced a pretty bad ecxmea episode too, along with unexplained allergies, so we’re sticking to a dairy free menu again this Christmas. So what should she be eating?
According to the tips on the Infant and Toddler Forum, she now needs to be eating around every 2-3 hours, which I am pretty certain we manage ok. It feels as though she is constantly eating! Breakfast suggestions for Elsie include a bagel with cream cheese, which is obviously no good for us, but the pancakes we can do! In fact, pancakes are a Christmas morning tradition for us all! We use coconut milk so that nobody misses out. Snacks we’re ok on too- Elsie loves fruit and we buy organic oat bars that she loves with a little peanut butter.
So what about the al-important lunch? As already mentioned, we all eat something different on Christmas day (much like any other day of the week!) but luckily Elsie has a wide range of foods that she loves to eat so her lunch won’t be too different from ours. We’ve decided to have steak, which Elsie probably won’t enjoy, so we’ve adapted her menu a little.
The forum recommends a lunch with turkey and all the trimmings, which Elsie and her siblings actually really enjoy eating, so they will be having a version of that this year. We’ll pop a small sausage on there, roast a couple of chicken breasts to share. They all prefer mashed potatoes and they all love peas and sweetcorn and- of course- gravy! I make my own yorkshire puddings with coconut milk so that Elsie doesn’t have to miss out either. And that’s it! instead of Christmas pudding (nobody likes it) the kids will have ice cream or similar, seeing as it’s Christmas day. Of course, we have a dairy free version for Elsie.
Al in all, not a bad Christmas dinner wouldn’t you say? Nothing complicated about that. The bit we need to pay attention to is the portion sizes. Elsie is only three, so her plate doesn’t need to be as full as her siblings. That said, she’s a very active toddler so regular meals and snacks are a must to keep her engine running until bedtime! I’ll use the toddler portion size table to help me plan out exactly how much she needs to be eating throughout the day.
So what’s on your toddler’s plate this Christmas?
This is a collaborative post