Children grow and develop rapidly during the first year. But when your child becomes a toddler, growth slows. Thus, the amount of food they need to thrive changes as well. Here is a general guide for feeding your toddler, ensuring he or she gets enough calories along with all the protein, vitamins, and minerals necessary for one day:
- Each day, a child between ages 1 and 3 years needs about 40 calories for every inch of height. This means, for example, that a toddler who measures 32 inches should be taking in an average of about 1,300 calories a day, but the amount varies with each child’s build and activity level.
- The child’s serving size should be approximately one-quarter of an adult’s.
Here’s an average toddler-sized meal:
- One ounce of meat, or 2 to 3 tablespoons of beans
- One to 2 tablespoons of vegetable
- One to 2 tablespoons of fruit
- One-quarter slice of bread
As your child gets older, portion sizes change. The following are suggested portion sizes by age. However, your child’s stage of growth and development, age, appetite and activity will all play a part in deciding on what portion sizes are right for your child. In general, portions should be “child-sized” until adolescence.