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Keep Your Toddler Healthy

Animation: How To Keep Your Toddler Healthy: Your Guide To Serving Sizes

How much do you need to feed your growing toddler? What’s a serving size? See our guide for advice on fueling their adventures!

5 min read

 Toddler – Article by mum+

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How To Keep Your Toddler Healthy: Your Guide To Serving Sizes

Jumping on the bed, making dens, and getting as muddy as possible – it’s hard work being a toddler. Here’s our nutrition advice to help keep your toddler happy, healthy and fuelled for adventure, including what food groups they need and serving sizes.

These serving sizes are only recommendations, you may find your little one can’t eat it all in one meal. If this happens, split one serving into multiple smaller amounts for your toddler to enjoy throughout the day.

Toddler Guide To Serving Sizes

The 4 main food groups that a growing toddler needs

To help your toddler grow, they need to be enjoying the fat, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals that the 4 main food groups provide:

  • Fruit and veg
  • Grain foods, like bread, cereals, rice, noodles and pasta
  • Milk and milk products, like cheese and yogurt
  • Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes (like cooked dried beans, peas and lentils), nuts and seeds.

Aim to get your toddler eating a range of these foods every day.

Toddler 4 Main Food Groups

Fruit and veg for toddlers

Fruit and veg are crammed with good stuff, like fibre, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. They should be eaten with most meals and make delicious, healthy and easy snacks. You can:

  • Buy fresh fruit and veg that’s in season to keep costs low.
  • Opt for canned or frozen. Look out for canned fruit in fruit juice, rather than syrup.
  • Include a range of raw and cooked fruit and veg in meals and snacks.
  • Tempt your toddler with raw veg like grated carrot or cabbage – it doesn’t matter if it’s not cooked.
  • Offer a variety to maximise the different nutrients we get from different coloured fruit and veg – think kiwifruit and green beans, or strawberries and red capsicum. 
  • Limit fruit juice and dried fruit to 1 serving each day, thanks to their high sugar content. A serving is 3 dried apricots, 25g / 2 tbsp of raisins or 1 cup of watered down juice.
Fruit And Veggie For Toddlers

Fruit and veg serving sizes for toddlers

Fruit Vege serving sizes toddler

Grain foods for toddlers

Because they’re a great energy source, your toddler can tuck into grain foods every day. You can:

  • Offer breakfast cereals, breads, noodles, rice and pasta.
  • Make tempting snacks with breads and cereals.
  • Choose wholegrain options, like brown breads with whole grains, rolled oats or brown rice.

Grain foods serving sizes for toddlers

Grain serving sizes toddler

Milk and milk products for toddlers

Your toddler needs milk and milk products, with all their energy, protein, vitamins and minerals (especially calcium), to help them grow healthy teeth and bones. You can:

  • Offer milk products, like yoghurt, smoothies and cheese, if your toddler doesn’t like drinking milk.
  • Limit your little one (under ones) to 2 cups of milk a day to make sure they save room for food and all its necessary nutrients.

Milk and milk products serving sizes for toddlers

Dairy serving sizes Toddler

Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds for toddlers

Stuffed with protein, fat and vitamins and minerals (including important iron), this food group supports your toddler’s development and a healthy brain and blood. You can:

  • Offer lean meats, chicken and seafood as your toddler gets iron more easily from these sources than plants.
  • Serve foods high in vitamin C with meals, like kiwifruit, tomatoes and broccoli. This helps your toddler absorb iron better.
  • Reduce fat by choosing lean meat, cutting off fat and taking off cooked chicken skin.
  • Limit processed meats, like ham, bacon and salami, because of their high levels of fat, salt and preservatives.
  • Add lentils, chickpeas or beans to meals (think casseroles, spag bol and curry).

Serving sizes of this group for toddlers

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Toddler-friendly healthy snacks

As well as tucking into 3 meals a day containing all 4 food groups, your toddler needs 2 or 3 snacks too. These mini-meals supply your toddler with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. Ideally, they’re low in fat, salt and sugar. Healthy snacks for your toddler include:

  • Cold cooked veg.
  • Veg with cottage cheese or hummus.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Sandwiches with fillings like banana, marmite or cheese on rolls, crackers, pitas or muffins.
  • Yoghurt.
  • Cereal.
  • Cheese.

Try to offer snacks 1-2 hours before a meal so they have time to get hungry again.

 Support with feeding your toddler

For tips and advice on everything to do with feeding your toddler – from building healthy habits to dealing with fussy eaters – check out our guide

Support Feeding Your Toddler

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