Serving Sizes: How Much Should Your Toddler Eat?

Christine Coppa

Ever wonder who ate more -- the floor or your toddler, as you pick up peas, wipe up applesauce, and vacuum up that trail of crumbs?

If yes, then we have something in common. My 2 1/2-year-old son is a pretty good eater, but some days I have to wonder if he got enough based on the amount of food I'm tossing away or packing up for the fridge.

What is an average serving size like for a toddler's tummy?

Here's a breakdown via of the amount of food your toddler should be consuming on a daily basis (hey, as moms, we can hope, right?).

  • Milk: 16 to 20 ounces per day. (Trick to get milk in: 1/4 cup of yogurt = 2 ounces of milk. My son loves blueberry yogurt drinks. Also try 1/2 to 3/4 ounces of cheese to total at least 4 ounces of milk.)
  • Fruits & Veggies: 5 servings a day in the form of 1-2 tablespoons of mashed, pureed, or cubed. This has never been a problem for us -- my tot goes ga-ga for berries, watermelon, green beans -- even raw carrots. If you're having trouble getting your little one to consume the green and fresh stuff, offer up a fruit kabob.
  • Grains: 3 servings a day. Think 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich, 1/4 cup of cereal, 3 crackers of his liking (animal ones count!), a 1/2 cup of pasta (mac 'n' cheese works!)
  • Protein: Always the hardest for me since my son doesn't love meat, but he needs at least 2 servings a day. I offer up 3 tablespoons of black beans, a scrambled "eggie," and at least an ounce of grilled or breaded & baked chicken.

Tip: Pack multiple foods into a fun bento box to get your kids excited about eating those recommended servings.

Do you think your toddlers are eating enough based on these recommended serving sizes?

Image via  Claire L. Evans/Flickr


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