Toddlers need to consume a well-balanced diet to grow and stay healthy. Getting a picky toddler to eat a wide variety of foods can sometimes be challenging, however. If your toddler doesn't like to eat meat or you have chosen not to feed him meat, you'll find there are many other ways for him to get the recommended amount of protein he needs each day. Proteins are one of the main food groups and they provide your toddler with vital nutrients, such as vitamins, iron and magnesium. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers eat two servings of protein each day, which is equivalent to about 2 ounces.
Make your toddler eggs for breakfast. You could scramble them with some vegetable puree or melt some protein-rich cheese on top. Or, you could slice up hard-boiled eggs for him. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Add some sliced fruit to his plate and offer him milk, which also contains valuable protein, to drink.
Toast some whole-grain bread lightly and spread peanut butter on top for a healthy snack or as part of your toddler's breakfast. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein.
Serve your toddler grilled or steamed fish, along with some whole-grain rice, steamed vegetables and fruit for dessert. If he drinks milk with his meal, he's getting a little bit of something from each of the food groups, and the fish and milk will provide him with protein.
Prepare a meal made with beans for your toddler. Beans are a good source of fiber, and protein and can be added to many things. You could spread refried beans onto a whole-wheat tortilla and sprinkle with cheese or make a quesadilla out of those ingredients. Cook up a pot of mild chili for your toddler, made with chili beans and kidney beans. You could also serve plain cooked beans to your toddler as a finger food, along with some fruit, steamed and diced vegetables and whole-grain cereal.
Add protein to any meal by adding some dairy, like cottage cheese, yogurt or cheese, to your toddler's plate. Sprinkle some shredded cheese onto whole-grain cooked pasta or potatoes or add some milk to your child's cereal or oatmeal.
Make your toddler a healthy, protein-rich smoothie for part of his meal or just as a snack. Simply combine milk and fresh fruit, such as bananas, blueberries or peaches, and blend until smooth.