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

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

Your little one is strolling, climbing, operating, 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 will uncover how finest to nourish your little one 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 fine diet, but it surely does current some challenges.

Toddlers want between 1,000 and 1,400 energy a day, relying on their age, measurement, and bodily exercise degree (most are thought of lively). The quantity of meals a toddler requires from every of the meals teams is predicated 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, reminiscent of 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, not less than half from whole-grain sources

5, not less than 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 many others.)




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, reminiscent of cheddar (low-fat for ages 2 and older)

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

Day by day, toddlers hone their motor expertise, together with on the desk. Mastering the pincer grasp, which permits kids to choose up small bits of meals (and different objects) between their thumbs and the forefingers, is likely one of the first steps to self-feeding, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altman, MD, writer of Mommy Calls.

Kids begin to develop the pincer grasp round 9 months, the identical time they’re prepared for a lidded sippy or straw cup stuffed with toddler formulation or breast milk.

Many toddlers can self-feed a whole meal at round a yr previous, whereas different toddlers could need assistance till 18 months or so, Altman tells WebMD.

“After age 2, most toddlers can use a daily cup and not using a lid with out spilling, but when they get pleasure from a straw cup or a sippy cup, there is not any hurt in that,” Altman says.

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

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

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

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

Feeding Toddlers: Milk and Different Dairy Merchandise for Toddlers

Dairy meals, notably milk, are wealthy in bone-building calcium and vitamin D. There isn’t any rush to serve a baby milk, nonetheless.

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

The explanation? In contrast to fortified toddler formulation, cow’s milk is low in iron and will result in iron deficiency that compromises a baby’s pondering capability, vitality 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 growth. In some circumstances, your pediatrician or registered dietitian could advocate 2% reduced-fat milk, so ask what is true in your little one.

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

Milk is especially useful as a result of it offers vitamin D. Kids of all ages want 400 worldwide models (IU) of vitamin D day by day, in keeping with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

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

Like all beverage, filling up on milk leaves much less room for meals, together with iron-rich decisions reminiscent of 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 little one accustomed to the style of water than juice at a younger age,” Altman says.

It is not that fruit juice is unhealthy. It is an essential supply of a number of nutritional vitamins and minerals that gasoline progress, together with vitamin C. Fortified juices supply further vitamins, reminiscent of calcium and vitamin D, too.

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

Altman suggests sticking with complete fruit for toddlers. “I do not know very many toddlers who do not like fruit,” she says.

Feeding Toddlers: What About Multivitamins?

A multivitamin/multimineral complement (multi) designed for toddlers will not harm and will even assist a baby’s food plan, Zied tells WebMD. Go for a liquid formulation till the age of two after which focus on a chewable along with your pediatrician.

“Toddlers are erratic eaters, and a few could go days and even weeks arising quick 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 food plan. Multis fall quick for a lot of vitamins toddlers want day by day, together with calcium.

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

The physique makes vitamin D; its manufacturing is initiated within the pores and skin by robust daylight. Dwelling in a northern local weather will increase the danger 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 embrace:

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

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Salt?

Zied and Altman agree: Kids ought to develop into accustomed at a younger age to the pure flavors of meals slightly 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 food plan.

Processed meals, together with toddler favorites reminiscent of scorching canine, 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 could reduce the danger 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 attainable. “Restrict processed merchandise and season meals with herbs and spices to chop down on the salt in your loved ones’s food plan,” Zied advises.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Sugar?

It’s not attainable to completely escape sugar. Pure sugars are current in a number of the most nutritious meals, together with fruit, veggies, and milk.

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

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

“She suggests avoiding comfortable drinks and limiting fruit juice consumption in addition to serving extra fruit and veggies with every meal you give your infant.”

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