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Food For Toddlers: How Much Should You Serve?

A toddler energy requirement is not large and so is their food intake.The rapid growth of your child slows down after the infancy period. But as a parent, it becomes your prime responsibility to satisfy the nutritional and calorie needs of your child for his healthy growth and development. Here is a list of nutrients that your child needs during toddlerhood and the range of portion size that need to be served.  

Food Group 01: Grains and starchy foods (Potatoes, bread, cereals and other starchy food)

Number of servings per day: 3

Bread slices (Toasted or fresh): ½ to 1 medium slice

Cooked Pasta: 2 - 5 tbsp

Mashed potato: 1 - 4 tbsp

Rice (Boiled or fried): 2- 5 tbsp

Porridge: 5 - 8 tbsp


Food Group 02: Fruits and Vegetables

Number of servings per day: 1 cup

Fruits are vegetables are low energy, high nutrients food. So, more your child eats it, the better for them to fulfil their nutrient requirement

Apple : ¼ to ½ medium apple

Apple sauce : 1 cup

Tangerine: ½ to 1 fruit

Large banana: 1

Grapes: 32

Strawberries: 8 large

Dried fruit: ½ cup

Carrots: 1 to 3 tbsp/2 - 6 carrot sticks

Peas: ½ to 2 tbsp

Cooked or raw vegetables: 1 cup

Leafy greens: 2 cups


Food Group 03: Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt

Number of servings per day: 3

It is best to serve the dairy products within the portion sizes mentioned below. Otherwise, these products could reduce the appetite for the other iron-containing foods. It is advised to offer full-fat milk to your child until the age of two years at least. You could offer semi skimmed milk from two years up to five years of age and beyond five years, you could offer skimmed milk.

Cow’s milk: 1 cup of milk

Yoghurt: 1 pot (125 ml)

Grated cheese: 2 - 4 tbsp

Processed cheese: 2 - 3 slices

Hard cheese: 1½ to 2 slices

Soymilk: 1 cup


Food Group 04: Proteins (Meat, Fish, Eggs, Nuts, Pulses)

Number of servings per day: 2 to 3 (2 servings for toddlers eating meat and 3 servings for vegetarians).

Including protein in your child’s diet and making sure the body’s requirement is fulfilled is utmost important as it helps the child’s body to build the cells, break down food into energy, fight function and carry oxygen. Here is a list of of protein-rich food and their serving portion size.

Egg (Poached/boiled/fried): ½ to 1

Peanut or almond butter: 1 tbsp

Chickpeas: 1 to 2 tbsp

Tinned fish (tuna/salmon/sardines): ½ to 1½ tbsp

Sausages: ¼ to 1 medium size

Cooked beans: ¼ cup

Hummus: 2 tbsp

Beef, pork, or poultry: A pack of gum size


Food Group 05: Foods rich in fat and sugar

Since the energy requirement of the toddlers is low, it is advised not to limit the consumption of foods rich in fats and sugar such as sweet puddings, cakes, chocolates and savoury snacks such as crisps. However, the amount of these foods that could be offered to your child varies based on the type of food.

Foods that could be served twice a day: Fats and Oils

Butter/Margarine: 1 tbsp (thinly spread on bread)

Foods that could be served once a day: Biscuits, cakes, puddings, sauces, sweet and savoury spreads

Fruit biscuits: 1 to 2

Jelly: 2 to 4 tbsp

Honey: 1 tbsp (thinly spread)

Jam: 1 tbsp (thinly spread)

Marmalade: 1 tbsp (thinly spread)

Syrup: 1 tbsp (thinly spread)

Occasional food that could be served only once a week: Confectionary, sweet drinks and savoury snacks.

Chocolate buttons such as gems: 5 to 8 buttons (small)

Fruit juices: 100 to 120 ml (3 to 4 oz)

Crisps: 4 to 6 crisps

Packet snacks: 4 to 6 pieces


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