New research has found that those children who eat the same meals as their parents are far more likely to have healthier diets than those who eat different foods.

In light of the findings from the University of Edinburgh's study of 200 families with five-year-olds, the Infant & Toddler Forum is recommending that government advice to families should be kept simple to help establish good eating habits in their children’s early years.

Parents anxious at mealtimes
ITF member and paediatric dietitian Judy More said: "Our own research shows that parents are often anxious about providing nutritious meals and snacks, with over one-third stating that having clear practical advice on how, what and how much to feed toddlers would make mealtimes easier.

"To address this need, we set out to review the existing evidence on toddler nutrition and produce a set of simple messages that are aligned with current government advice and promote family meals.  Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers consists of ten easy-to-follow  practical steps to support families and carers with toddler mealtimes, looking at behaviours as well as  nutrition.”

Good food habits for development
The Infant & Toddler Forum has been working in this area for many years and in 2010 developed the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers initiative which promotes simple and concise advice that can be applied everywhere toddlers are fed.

It focusses on what foods to offer and what behaviours to instil, to promote good habits for health, growth and development.  

For more information visit www.infantandtoddlerforum.org