From six months of age, solid foods can be introduced into your child's diet. As he or she grows, you can give more textures and tastes, such as lumpy purees or crunchy raw carrot, then move on to small pieces of food that will need to be chewed, such as breadsticks.
At this age your child is growing and developing very quickly, so you need to make sure their diet contains a balance of vitamins and minerals from all the food groups.
Meat, fish, dairy products, dried fruit, green vegetables and legumes are all excellent sources of iron and protein.
Full-fat milk and dairy foods provide calcium for strong bones and teeth, bread and cereals provide lots of energy, and five small portions of fruit and vegetables a day will give plenty of fiber.
Things to avoid
Food containing raw eggs can cause food poisoning, so if you are giving your toddler eggs, make sure the yolk and white are both cooked and solid. Also avoid raw shellfish, another common source of food poisoning.
It's a good idea to avoid certain fish including shark and swordfish, which may contain high levels of mercury, known to damage the developing nervous system.
Make sure nuts are either crushed or flaked, as they can cause choking if left whole or chopped.
There's no need to add salt to your toddler's foods - read labels on the foods you buy to ensure they contain less than 0.5g, and keep total salt intake to no more than 2g a day for under-3s.
Behavior and food
Toddlers can eat the same sorts of foods as adults, but until they are about 2 years old they can't cope with a large amount in one go, so offer a variety of nutritious snacks and smaller meals than you serve for yourself.
Many children go through a stage of fussy eating. Although you'll need to supervise in case of choking, try to make mealtimes fun with foods they can easily feed themselves, such as carrot sticks.
Give your toddler a choice between two or three options, so their eating is not completely out of their control. If they refuse or throw food, remain calm, and don't give in to pestering for sweets.
You shouldn't let your child go hungry, but distract him or her, and half an hour later they may be willing to eat a small healthy snack.