I have heard from a lot of you wondering if your toddlers are eating enough. How can such a ball of energy survive on so little food? Rest assured, toddlers don’t need a lot of calories and it’s expected that a toddler will eat one good meal per day. I try not to stress out about how much my daughter eats or what food groups she eats because it’s out of my control. All I can do is offer great choices, be a good example, and have a healthy attitude about eating.
I think a lot of parents have unrealistic expectations for their toddler’s eating. You should NOT expect a lot! Toddler servings are pretty tiny. Here are some real toddler servings based on recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I measured and weighed each of the portions shown below.
dairy 2-3 servings per day
1/2 cup of milk, 1 ounce of cheese, 1/3 cup of yogurt
grains 6 servings per day
4 tablespoons of pasta, 1/4 slice of bread, 4 tablespoons of rice, 4 tablespoons of tortellini, 2 crackers, 1/4 c of cereal
fruits and veggies 2-3 servings of each per day
1/2 piece of fresh fruit, 1/4 c of canned fruit, 2 tablespoons of veggies (1 tablespoon of veggies per year old)
legumes 2 servings per day
protein 2 servings per day
1 ounce of meat (1/2 hotdog shown, 6 small slices of salami), 1/2 an egg, 1 ounce of tofu
learning table manners
Instead of focusing on portion sizes and food groups we focus on table manners and keeping meal time fun. The last thing any parent wants is a meal time battle. If you’re worried about your toddler’s attitude about eating I have two great books for you: How to Get Your Kid To Eat: But Not Too Much and Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, both by Ellyn Satter. I hope you feel at ease about how much… or how little your toddler might be eating. Just remember, it’s a phase and it’s normal! Real toddler servings are tiny. I feel better knowing that when my toddler doesn’t eat much I know she’s right on track.Share it!