Feeding Chart, Meal Concepts, and Serving Sizes


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Your baby 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 fundamental know-how, you will uncover how greatest to nourish your baby 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, nevertheless it does current some challenges.

Toddlers want between 1,000 and 1,400 energy a day, relying on their age, dimension, 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 selections from every of the meals teams, toddlers want the equal of three to 4 teaspoons of wholesome oils, resembling canola oil and tub margarine.

Toddler Feeding Chart

Meals Group

Every day Servings,

12-24 months

Every day Servings,

24-36 months

Serving Dimension



3, at the least half from whole-grain sources

5, at the least 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, resembling cheddar (low-fat for ages 2 and older)

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

Daily, toddlers hone their motor expertise, together with on the desk. Mastering the pincer grasp, which permits youngsters 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.

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 system or breast milk.

Many toddlers can self-feed a whole meal at round a yr outdated, whereas different toddlers might need assistance till 18 months or so, Altman tells WebMD.

“After age 2, most toddlers can use an everyday cup with out a lid with out spilling, but when they take pleasure in a straw cup or a sippy cup, there isn’t any hurt in that,” Altman says.

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

Toddler self-feeding provides a complete new that means to the time period mess corridor, nevertheless 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 crucial developmental talent that folks ought to nurture,” Zied says.

Permit youngsters to self-feed as a lot as they’ll and wish to, advises Altman, but when they don’t seem to be 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 not any rush to serve a baby milk, nevertheless.

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

The explanation? Not like fortified toddler system, 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 gas their progress and improvement. In some circumstances, your pediatrician or registered dietitian might suggest 2% reduced-fat milk, so ask what is correct to your baby.

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

Milk is especially useful as a result of it gives vitamin D. Kids of all ages want 400 worldwide items (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, nevertheless.

Like all beverage, filling up on milk leaves much less room for meals, together with iron-rich selections resembling lean beef, hen, and pork.

Feeding Toddlers: How A lot Juice?

Strictly talking, youngsters 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 baby 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 vital supply of a number of nutritional vitamins and minerals that gas progress, together with vitamin C. Fortified juices provide extra vitamins, resembling calcium and vitamin D, too.

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

Altman suggests sticking with complete 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 will even assist a baby’s food plan, Zied tells WebMD. Go for a liquid formulation till the age of two after which talk about a chewable along with your pediatrician.

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

Dietary dietary supplements present some insurance coverage in opposition to a toddler’s unpredictable consuming, however they’re simply that — dietary supplements, not substitutes for a balanced food plan. Multis fall brief for a lot of vitamins toddlers want day-after-day, together with calcium.

Multis with vitamin D could also be so as in case your toddler does not get the advisable 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. Residing in a northern local weather will increase the chance of vitamin D deficiency in youngsters and adults, making the case for supplemental vitamin D compelling.

Few meals aside 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 quite than to a salty style.

However it might 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 resembling sizzling canines, macaroni and cheese, and hen 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 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 few 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 — resembling sweet, cake, and cookies — are sometimes filled with fats and lack different vitamins. Added sugar is present in more healthy selections additionally, resembling breakfast cereals, yogurt, and snack bars.

Zied says older youngsters 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.”

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