Feeding Your Toddler

The goal for feeding a toddler is to create children who will try new foods, are physically fit; regulate their food intake based on hunger and value family meals.

In feeding toddlers, you need to find the right balance for your child because:

  • Growth slows down
  • Hunger decreases
  • Independence rules
  • Appetite is sporadic, so hunger may change from day to day
  • Eating is messy as the toddler learns how to feed herself

Family meals are important for toddlers to see proper eating habits and food choices.
Variety is key – present your toddler with a varied diet within the different food groups. (See chart)
Present your child a variety of tastes, textures and colors.
Portion sizes should be kept small so as not to overwhelm the child or encourage over eating. Give less than you think your child will eat and allow the child to ask for more.

Food GroupsServings Per Day (minimums except where noted)
Grains – use whole grains, serve potatoes with skins1 ½ cups
Vegetables – include dark green and yellow each week½ cups
Fruit (preferred over fruit juice) – include a wide variety each week¾ cups
Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) or Rice, Almond, or Soy milk2 cups
Lean meat, chicken, seafood, eggs2 ounces
Beans, peas, soy, seeds, and nuts2 TBSP
Plant oils such as olive oil and canola oil1 TBSP
Added sugarMaximum of 5 tsp.
Saturated fatsMaximum of 1 1/3 TBSPs


Encourage independent eating & allow child to feed his/herself.