Feeding Toddlers: Feeding Chart, Meal Ideas, and Serving Sizes

Feeding Toddlers: Feeding Chart, Meal Concepts, and Serving Sizes

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Your youngster is strolling, climbing, working, and “speaking” nonstop now. Such developmental milestones imply their dietary wants have modified, too.

Welcome to toddler territory. Armed with some primary know-how, you may uncover how finest to nourish your youngster as much as age 3.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot to Serve?

It is ironic: Due to a slowdown in progress, toddlers, who’re much more lively than infants, have decrease calorie wants, pound for pound. That does not diminish the significance of excellent vitamin, however it does current some challenges.

Toddlers want between 1,000 and 1,400 energy a day, relying on their age, measurement, and bodily exercise stage (most are thought of lively). The quantity of meals a toddler requires from every of the meals teams relies on day by day calorie wants.

Along with decisions from every of the meals teams, toddlers want the equal of three to 4 teaspoons of wholesome oils, similar to canola oil and tub margarine.

Toddler Feeding Chart

Meals Group

Every day Servings,

12-24 months

Every day Servings,

24-36 months

Serving Measurement



3, a minimum of half from whole-grain sources

5, a minimum of half from whole-grain sources

1 slice of whole-grain bread; 1 mini bagel; 1/2 cup cooked pasta, rice, or cereal; 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal



1 1/2

1 small apple; 1 cup sliced ​​or cubed fruit; 1 massive banana



1 1/2

1 cup cooked mashed or finely chopped greens together with legumes (chickpeas, black beans, and so on.)




1 cooked egg; 1 ounce cooked meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 tablespoon nut butter; 1/4 cup cooked legumes




1 cup milk or yogurt; 2 ounces processed American cheese; 1 1/2 ounces pure cheese, similar to cheddar (low-fat for ages 2 and older)

Feeding Toddlers: Indicators Your Toddler Is Able to Self-Feed

On daily basis, toddlers hone their motor abilities, together with on the desk. Mastering the pincer grasp, which permits kids to select up small bits of meals (and different objects) between their thumbs and the forefingers, is among the first steps to self-feeding, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altman, MD, creator of Mommy Calls.

Youngsters begin to develop the pincer grasp round 9 months, the identical time they’re prepared for a lidded sippy or straw cup full of toddler components or breast milk.

Many toddlers can self-feed a complete meal at round a yr outdated, whereas different toddlers might need assistance till 18 months or so, Altman tells Wannadunk.

“After age 2, most toddlers can use a daily cup with no lid with out spilling, but when they take pleasure in a straw cup or a sippy cup, there is no hurt in that,” Altman says.

As soon as a toddler discovers they will get meals into their very own mouth, they might not need you to assist a lot anymore.

Toddler self-feeding offers an entire new that means to the time period mess corridor, however it’s value it to allow them to attempt to get meals into their mouth, says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, creator of Feed Your Household Proper! and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Affiliation.

“Self-feeding is a vital developmental talent that folks ought to nurture,” Zied says.

Enable kids to self-feed as a lot as they will and need to, advises Altman, but when they are not getting sufficient meals, you may assist, too.

Feeding Toddlers: Milk and Different Dairy Merchandise for Toddlers

Dairy meals, significantly milk, are wealthy in bone-building calcium and vitamin D. There is no rush to serve a toddler milk, nonetheless.

“Wait till his first birthday to supply cow’s milk,” says Zied.

The rationale? In contrast to fortified toddler components, cow’s milk is low in iron and should result in iron deficiency that compromises a toddler’s considering capability, power ranges, and progress. Breast milk is low in iron, however the iron is well-absorbed by the kid’s physique.

Most toddlers start by consuming full-fat dairy meals for the energy, fats, and ldl cholesterol essential to gasoline their progress and improvement. In some instances, your pediatrician or registered dietitian might advocate 2% reduced-fat milk, so ask what is correct on your youngster.

By the age of two, most toddlers can begin transitioning to lower-fat dairy meals, similar to 2% reduced-fat milk or 1% low-fat milk, Zied says.

Milk is especially helpful as a result of it offers vitamin D. Youngsters of all ages want 400 worldwide items (IU) of vitamin D day by day, in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Toddlers require 16 ounces of milk or one other calcium-containing product each day. It’s doable to have an excessive amount of of a very good factor, nonetheless.

Like all beverage, filling up on milk leaves much less room for meals, together with iron-rich decisions similar to lean beef, rooster, and pork.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Juice?

Strictly talking, kids don’t want juice. The AAP recommends limiting fruit juice consumption to six ounces a day or much less till 6 years of age.

“It is higher to get your youngster accustomed to the style of water than juice at a younger age,” Altman says.

It isn’t that fruit juice is unhealthy. It is an vital supply of a number of nutritional vitamins and minerals that gasoline progress, together with vitamin C. Fortified juices provide extra vitamins, similar to calcium and vitamin D, too.

The issue is, consuming [fruit] juice, even when it is diluted, might give youngsters a style for sweets, Altman says. Ingesting fruit juice at a younger age might encourage the consumption of the “liquid energy” that some specialists have fingered as a contributor to childhood weight problems. And extreme fruit juice consumption might trigger cavities.

Altman suggests sticking with entire fruit for toddlers. “I do not know very many toddlers who don’t love fruit,” she says.

Feeding Toddlers: What About Multivitamins?

A multivitamin/multimineral complement (multi) designed for toddlers will not harm and should even assist a toddler’s weight-reduction plan, Zied tells Wannadunk. Go for a liquid formulation till the age of two after which talk about a chewable together with your pediatrician.

“Toddlers are erratic eaters, and a few might go days and even weeks developing brief for a number of vitamins,” she says.

Dietary dietary supplements present some insurance coverage towards a toddler’s unpredictable consuming, however they’re simply that — dietary supplements, not substitutes for a balanced weight-reduction plan. Multis fall brief for a lot of vitamins toddlers want every single day, together with calcium.

Multis with vitamin D could also be so as in case your toddler does not get the really helpful 400 IU of vitamin D day by day.

The physique makes vitamin D; Its manufacturing is initiated within the pores and skin by sturdy daylight. Dwelling in a northern local weather will increase the chance of vitamin D deficiency in kids and adults, making the case for supplemental vitamin D compelling.

Few meals apart from milk are good sources of vitamin D. Some good ones embody:

  • Cereal, ready-to-eat, fortified: 40-60 IU for 3/4 to 1 cup.
  • Fortified orange juice: 50 IU for 4 ounces.
  • Eggs, entire (yolk): 20-40 IU for one massive.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Salt?

Zied and Altman agree: Youngsters ought to grow to be accustomed at a younger age to the pure flavors of meals reasonably than to a salty style.

However it could come as a shock that the salt shaker is a minor supply of sodium within the American weight-reduction plan.

Processed meals, together with toddler favorites similar to sizzling canines, macaroni and cheese, and rooster nuggets, present 75% of the sodium we eat.

An excessive amount of dietary sodium has been linked to hypertension in adults. Analysis suggests a decrease sodium consumption throughout childhood might reduce the chance of hypertension with age.

Whereas it is a good suggestion to keep away from the salt shaker, it is even higher to cook dinner from scratch as a lot as doable. “Restrict processed merchandise and season meals with herbs and spices to chop down on the salt in your loved ones’s weight-reduction plan,” Zied advises.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Sugar?

It isn’t doable to completely escape sugar. Pure sugars are current in among the most nutritious meals, together with fruit, veggies, and milk.

However a much bigger concern is the general high quality of the meals. Complete meals have many vitamins to supply. Processed, sugary meals — similar to sweet, cake, and cookies — are sometimes full of fats and lack different vitamins. Added sugar is present in more healthy decisions additionally, similar to breakfast cereals, yogurt, and snack bars.

Zied says older kids get upwards of 25% of their energy from sugar, far an excessive amount of to make sure dietary adequacy.

“Typically talking, sugary meals are OK in small doses,” Zied says.

“She suggests avoiding delicate drinks and limiting fruit juice consumption in addition to serving extra vegetables and fruit with every meal you give your toddler.”