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Serving Sizes for Toddlers

A toddler's daily energy requirements are not very large. After tripling their birth weight by their first babies, a child's growth slows down. So, the amount they eat does not need to be huge.

A general guide for feeding your toddler

  • Each day, a child between ages 1 and 3 years needs about 40 calories for every inch of height. This means that a toddler who measures 32 inches in height, for example, should be taking in an average of about 1,300 calories a day. However, the amount varies with each child's build and activity level.

  • The child's serving size should be approximately one-quarter of an adult's.

Example of an average toddler-sized meal

  • One ounce of meat, or 2 to 3 tablespoons of beans

  • One to 2 tablespoons of vegetables

  • One to 2 tablespoons of fruit

  • One-quarter slice of bread

Your toddler will get enough calories along with all the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need from an average daily intake similar to the chart below.

Average Daily Intake for a Toddler

Food Group

Servings Per Day

Number of Calories Per Day

One Serving Equals

Grains

6

250

  • Bread - 1/4 to 1/2 slice

  • Cereal, rice, pasta (cooked) - 4 tbsps

  • Cereal (dry) - 1/4 cup

  • Crackers - 1 to 2

Vegetables

2 to 3

75

  • Vegetables (cooked) - 1 tbsp. for each year of age

Fruits

2 to 3

75

  • Fruit (cooked or canned) - 1/4 cup

  • Fruit (fresh) - 1/2 piece

  • Juice - 1/4 to 1/2 cup (2-4 oz.)

Dairy

2 to 3

300-450

  • Milk - 1/2 cup

  • Cheese - 1/2 oz. (1-inch cube)

  • Yogurt - 1/3 cup

Protein (meat, fish, poultry, tofu)

2

200

  • 1 oz. (equal to two 1-inch cubes of solid meat or 2 tbsps. of ground meat)

  • Egg - 1/2 any size, yolk and white

Legumes

2

200

  • Soaked and cooked - 2 tbsps. (1/8 cup)

Peanut butter (smooth only)

95

  • Spread thin on bread toast or cracker - 1 tbsp.


More information

Last Updated
8/15/2022
Source
Committee on Nutrition (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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