Visual guide: How much should a toddler really eat

Every day is a fun new world of tastes and textures for toddlers, and most of us are keen to let our mini munchers taste the entire rainbow. But there’s no need for them to eat the entire thing.

We tend to pile up their little plates, with the hopes of filling tiny tummies, only to have them take just a few bites. But after looking at this visual guide to toddler portions, you’ll soon realise that a little food goes a long way for toddlers.

Just a couple of tablespoons of baked beans, a slice of toast and a little cucumber is a perfectly portioned meal for toddlers. This Infant & Toddler Forum guide goes through popular snacks, meals and foods to help parents work out what a portion should look like.

Here’s a visual guide to how much toddlers should eat.

How much food should toddlers eat?

A visual guide to how much food a toddler should eat | Mum's Grapevine

According to Raising Children toddlers aged between two and three years old have appetites that change daily. Sometimes they’ll seem like a bottomless pit, other days they’ll eat like a mouse. The suggested daily serves are:

Fruit: 1 serve of fruit (eg. 1 medium apple/banana/orange/pear or 2 small plums/kiwi fruits/apricots)
Vegetables: 2.5 serves of veggies (1 serve is half a medium potato/corn or half a cup of cooked veggies)
Dairy: 1.5 serves of dairy (1 serve = 1 cup of milk or two slices of cheese or 3/4 cup of yoghurt)
Cereals and grain: 4 serves of grains (1 serve = 1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup of cooked rice/pasta/noodles)
Lean meats, nuts pastes and legumes: 1 serve of lean meats, nut pastes and legumes ( 1 serve = 65g cooked lean beef/lamb/veal or 2 large eggs.
Lots of water

But what does that all actually look like? The Infant & Toddler Forum, which is a UK based organisation, has developed a visual guide to toddler portion sizes for kids aged between one and four. The portions sizes are in a range to suit that age bracket.

Fruit and vegetables

Toddler portion sizes how much fruit and vegetables a day

According to the Infant & Toddler Forum, one to two servings from this group should be offered at each meal, and with some snacks.

Bread, cereals, potatoes and starchy foods

Toddler portion sizes bread and cerealOffer toddlers one serving from within these portion size ranges at each meal and some snacks.

Meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses

Toddler portion sizes meat pulsesOffer a serving from within these portion size ranges two times a day for toddlers eating meat and fish and three times a day for vegetarians kids.

High fat and sugar

Toddler portion sizes sugar and treats

Just once a day for the biscuits and cakes in this group is fine, with sweet drinks and savoury snacks limited to once a week.

Milk, yoghurt and cheese

Toddler portion sizes milk and cheese

A serving from within these portion size ranges can be offered about three times daily.

Complete meals

Meal portion sizes for toddlers

These plates are a great visual guide to putting together a toddler-sized meal with the correct portions.

Read next …

Still trying to simplify time at the table with a toddler? There’s more handy information on feeding toddlers in these next articles: