Good Toddler Nutrition: What Does It Look Like?

girl eating plums wagon

Photo by cozycabinmom

After reading the Daily Buzz post French Fries: Most Popular Tot "Vegetable," some of you tot mamas — although you have a pretty good idea — wondered what good toddler nutrition should look like.

I asked Catherine McCord (CafeMom weelicious), the founder of, to tell us what she knows about good toddler nutrition.


How many servings of fruits and vegetables should a healthy toddler consume in a day? How much is a serving size?

As much as I read about children, food, and health, I don't know if there's a specific amount to recommend per child because children are different heights, weights, etc.

In my opinion, it's important to OFFER:

  • A fruit at each meal and at snack time. A half a cup is a good serving size (about one small apple). Fruit juice does not count. I don't even advise serving juice because it's filled with sugar and is stripped of most of the vitamins and nutrients so important to growing little bodies.
  • At least one vegetable at lunch and at dinner.

How much fat should a healthy toddler consume in a day? What kinds of fats are best? Which kinds should we avoid?

The fats in salmon, cheese, olive oil, dairy products, nuts, and eggs are best. I make sure that every meals has some fat in it, but kids don't need as much fat as we think they do. That's part of the reason kids should switch to lowfat dairy products after the age of two. 

In terms of sodium intake, what foods should we avoid serving our toddlers?

Most foods served at fast food chains and in prepackaged meals are full of sodium. As much as possible, try to cook homemade meals for your family so you can control the sodium.

Vitamins and minerals?

Offering bright-colored fruits and vegetables is always key because they tend to contain more vitamins and minerals. If you know your child likes crunch, offer a crisp apple or raw vegetables with a dip.

Any other guidelines for building a healthy and nutritious diet for a toddler?

I always recommend avoiding refined sugars and fried foods whenever possible. That doesn't mean you have to deprive your child of the occasional chocolate chip cookie or french fry though.

At the end of the day, it's important to stress moderation. Get kids involved in the process so they have some control and understanding about the foods they put in their bodies. You would be shocked at how many kids will eat fruits and veggies you never thought possible because they helped make a smoothie with you. It empowers them and their food choices.


Catherine McCord is the founder of She started modeling and traveling the world at a very young age, tasting and being turned onto foods that were exciting and exotic to her Kentucky-bred palette. She then attended school at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. After her son, Kenya, was born she created to help parents like herself cook seasonal recipes that were kid friendly, fast, simple, and nutritious. Catherine lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband Jon, 2-year old son, Kenya, and baby girl, Chloe.


Related posts:

French Fries: Most Popular Tot "Vegetable"

Healthy, Quick Toddler Meals

The Next Food Network Star Cooks With Toddlers

Read More >