700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Toddler Nutrition: How Much is Enough?

Mar 26, 2015

Is your child’s stomach as big as yours?  Children are much smaller than adults so it is important to remember that we should feed them smaller portions as well as more frequent meals than those of adults since a smaller stomach will fill up faster.  An appropriate serving size for a toddler is going to be about ¼ to ½ of an adult serving as recommended by MyPlate.

Another way to quickly estimate serving sizes for children is 1 tablespoon per year. For example, a 2-year-old would be served 2 tablespoons of fruits or vegetables, and a 4-year-old would get 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup.

Toddler Nutrition Chart

Toddlers and Beverages:

2% or whole milk is recommended for children younger than 2 for the dietary fats needed for normal growth and development.  Fat-free and 1% milk, as well as low-fat yogurt and cheese are an appropriate choice for those older than 2 years of age to maintain healthy bones and teeth, without the added fat.

Letting children carry around juice all day oftentimes results in diarrhea in some and can even contribute to weight gain in others.  Even 100% fruit juice contains about the same amount of calories and sugar as pop.  A good guideline is to limit your toddler’s juice intake to no more than 4 oz. per day, and when your children are thirsty, offer them water instead of juice.  Also, offer whole fruit rather than juice as they contain important vitamins and fiber and have less sugar.

Want more tips on feeding your kids? Check out these resources from the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition!

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Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Alexis Klenke, RD, LD
Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition

Alexis Klenke is a registered and licensed dietitian with the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Alexis is certified in pediatric weight management through the American Dietetic Association.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.