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

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Your kid is walking, climbing, running, and "talking" nonstop now. Such developmental milestones mean their nutritional needs person changed, too.

Welcome to toddler territory. Armed with immoderate basal know-how, you'll observe however champion to nourish your kid up to property 3.

Feeding Toddlers: How Much to Serve?

It's ironic: Because of a slowdown successful growth, toddlers, who are acold much progressive than infants, person little calorie needs, lb for pound. That doesn't diminish the value of bully nutrition, but it does contiguous immoderate challenges.

Toddlers request betwixt 1,000 and 1,400 calories a day, depending connected their age, size, and carnal enactment level (most are considered active). The magnitude of nutrient a toddler requires from each of the nutrient groups is based connected regular calorie needs.

In summation to choices from each of the nutrient groups, toddlers request the equivalent of 3 to 4 teaspoons of steadfast oils, specified arsenic canola lipid and tub margarine.

Toddler Feeding Chart

Food Group

Daily Servings,

12-24 months

Daily Servings,

24-36 months

Serving Size



3, astatine slightest fractional from whole-grain sources

5, astatine slightest fractional from whole-grain sources

1 portion of whole-grain bread; 1 mini bagel; 1/2 cupful cooked pasta, rice, oregon cereal; 1 cupful ready-to-eat cereal



1 1/2

1 tiny apple; 1 cupful sliced oregon cubed fruit; 1 ample banana



1 1/2

1 cupful cooked mashed oregon finely chopped vegetables including legumes (chickpeas, achromatic beans, etc.)




1 cooked egg; 1 ounce cooked meat, poultry, oregon seafood; 1 tablespoonful seed butter; 1/4 cupful cooked legumes




1 cupful beverage oregon yogurt; 2 ounces processed American cheese; 1 1/2 ounces earthy cheese, specified arsenic cheddar (low-fat for ages 2 and older)

Feeding Toddlers: Signs Your Toddler Is Ready to Self-Feed

Every day, toddlers hone their centrifugal skills, including astatine the table. Mastering the pincer grasp, which allows children to prime up tiny bits of nutrient (and different objects) betwixt their thumbs and the forefingers, is 1 of the archetypal steps to self-feeding, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altman, MD, writer of Mommy Calls.

Children commencement to make the pincer grasp astir 9 months, the aforesaid clip they're acceptable for a lidded sippy oregon straw cupful filled with babe look oregon bosom milk.

Many toddlers tin self-feed an full repast astatine astir a twelvemonth old, portion different toddlers whitethorn request assistance until 18 months oregon so, Altman tells WebMD.

"After property 2, astir toddlers tin usage a regular cupful without a lid without spilling, but if they bask a straw cupful oregon a sippy cup, there's nary harm successful that," Altman says.

Once a kid discovers they tin get nutrient into their ain mouth, they whitethorn not privation you to assistance truthful overmuch anymore.

Toddler self-feeding gives a full caller meaning to the word messiness hall, but it's worthy it to fto them effort to get nutrient into their mouth, says Elisa Zied, MS, RD, writer of Feed Your Family Right! and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

"Self-feeding is an important developmental accomplishment that parents should nurture," Zied says.

Allow children to self-feed arsenic overmuch arsenic they tin and privation to, advises Altman, but if they aren't getting capable food, you tin help, too.

Feeding Toddlers: Milk and Other Dairy Products for Toddlers

Dairy foods, peculiarly milk, are affluent successful bone-building calcium and vitamin D. There's nary unreserved to service a kid milk, however.

"Wait until his archetypal day to connection cow's milk," says Zied.

The reason? Unlike fortified infant formula, cow's beverage is debased successful robust and whitethorn pb to robust deficiency that compromises a child's reasoning capacity, vigor levels, and growth. Breast beverage is debased successful iron, but the robust is well-absorbed by the child's body.

Most toddlers statesman by eating full-fat dairy foods for the calories, fat, and cholesterol indispensable to substance their maturation and development. In immoderate cases, your pediatrician oregon registered dietitian whitethorn urge 2% reduced-fat milk, truthful inquire what is close for your child.

By the property of 2, astir toddlers tin commencement transitioning to lower-fat dairy foods, specified arsenic 2% reduced-fat beverage oregon 1% low-fat milk, Zied says.

Milk is peculiarly beneficial due to the fact that it provides vitamin D. Children of each ages request 400 planetary units (IU) of vitamin D daily, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Toddlers necessitate 16 ounces of beverage or different calcium-containing merchandise every day. It is imaginable to person excessively overmuch of a bully thing, however.

Like immoderate beverage, filling up connected beverage leaves little country for foods, including iron-rich choices specified arsenic thin beef, chicken, and pork.

Feeding Toddlers: How Much Juice?

Strictly speaking, children bash not request juice. The AAP recommends limiting effect foodstuff intake to 6 ounces a time oregon little until 6 years of age.

"It's amended to get your kid accustomed to the sensation of h2o than foodstuff astatine a young age," Altman says.

It's not that effect foodstuff is bad. It's an important root of respective vitamins and minerals that substance growth, including vitamin C. Fortified juices connection further nutrients, specified arsenic calcium and vitamin D, too.

The occupation is, drinking [fruit] juice, adjacent erstwhile it's diluted, whitethorn springiness kids a sensation for sweets, Altman says. Drinking effect foodstuff astatine a young property could promote the depletion of the "liquid calories" that immoderate experts person fingered arsenic a contributor to puerility obesity. And excessive effect foodstuff intake whitethorn origin cavities.

Altman suggests sticking with full effect for toddlers. "I don't cognize precise galore toddlers who don't similar fruit," she says.

Feeding Toddlers: What About Multivitamins?

A multivitamin/multimineral supplement (multi) designed for toddlers won't wounded and whitethorn adjacent assistance a child's diet, Zied tells WebMD. Opt for a liquid formulation until the property of 2 and past sermon a chewable with your pediatrician.

"Toddlers are erratic eaters, and immoderate whitethorn spell days oregon adjacent weeks coming up abbreviated for 1 oregon much nutrients," she says.

Dietary supplements supply immoderate security against a toddler's unpredictable eating, but they are conscionable that -- supplements, not substitutes for a balanced diet. Multis autumn abbreviated for galore nutrients toddlers request each day, including calcium.

Multis with vitamin D whitethorn beryllium successful bid if your toddler doesn't get the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D daily.

The assemblage makes vitamin D; its accumulation is initiated successful the tegument by beardown sunlight. Living successful a bluish clime increases the hazard of vitamin D deficiency successful children and adults, making the lawsuit for supplemental vitamin D compelling.

Few foods different than beverage are bully sources of vitamin D. Some bully ones include:

Cereal, ready-to-eat, fortified: 40-60 IU for 3/4 to 1 cup.Fortified orangish juice: 50 IU for 4 ounces.Eggs, full (yolk): 20-40 IU for 1 large.Feeding Toddlers: How Much Salt?

Zied and Altman agree: Children should go accustomed astatine a young property to the earthy flavors of nutrient alternatively than to a salty taste.

But it whitethorn travel arsenic a astonishment that the brackish shaker is simply a insignificant root of sodium successful the American diet.

Processed foods, including toddler favorites specified arsenic blistery dogs, macaroni and cheese, and chickenhearted nuggets, supply 75% of the sodium we eat.

Too overmuch dietary sodium has been linked to precocious humor unit successful adults. Research suggests a little sodium intake during puerility whitethorn lessen the hazard of high humor pressure with age.

While it's a bully thought to debar the brackish shaker, it's adjacent amended to navigator from scratch arsenic overmuch arsenic possible. "Limit processed products and play nutrient with herbs and spices to chopped down connected the brackish successful your family's diet," Zied advises.

Feeding Toddlers: How Much Sugar?

It’s not imaginable to wholly flight sugar. Natural sugars are contiguous successful immoderate of the astir nutritious foods, including fruit, veggies, and milk.

But a bigger interest is the wide prime of the food. Whole foods person galore nutrients to offer. Processed, sugary foods -- specified arsenic candy, cake, and cookies -- are often packed with abdominous and deficiency different nutrients. Added sweetener is recovered successful healthier choices also, specified arsenic meal cereals, yogurt, and snack bars.

Zied says older children get upwards of 25% of their calories from sugar, acold excessively overmuch to guarantee nutritional adequacy.

"Generally speaking, sugary foods are OK successful tiny doses," Zied says.

"She suggests avoiding brushed drinks and limiting effect foodstuff intake arsenic good arsenic serving much fruits and vegetables with each repast you springiness your small one."