how much should a toddler eat?
how much should a toddler eat for your babies? It is hard enough to get your toddler to sit still for meals, let alone keep track of how much he eats daily! But they’re easy guidelines to help you figure out if your toddler is getting the nourishment he needs.
3 bites of pasta here, a half an orange there, a handful of Cheerios on the go. Ever wonder if you are finicky, the distracted toddler is eating enough? And what gives with the days when he/she suddenly wolfs down everything on his plate? Why inconsistency?
Rest assured that extreme fluctuations in appetite are fairly typical for toddler eating habits. But on average, as toddlers pass their 1st birthday, their growth slows, so they do not need to eat as much as they did when they were your babies — and their appetites reflect that.
So while it is important to offer your child three regular meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks a day (think of it as 6 mini-meals), be prepared for the fact that on some days they will get eaten and on other days they won’t. And in the long run, it is usually balancing out — really.
But if you are still worried that your picky toddler is not eating enough, keep these tips in mind when planning your tot’s meals.
How much should your toddler eat in a day?
Well, your toddler may not always cooperate, here is what you should aim to serve him on an average day.
- Grains: 6 servings
- Vegetables: 3 servings
- Fruits: 2 servings
- Protein: 2 servings
- Dairy: 16 to 24 ounces of milk (or equivalent amount of calcium-rich foods like cheese and yogurt)
- Water: 8 to 32 ounces
- Sweets: Very sparingly
What is a typical toddler serving size?
It is not uncommon for parents to put an adult-size portion on their children plate, and then worry that their toddler with the tiny tummy is not eating enough because he can not finish it.
The thing to remember, though, is that toddlers are portions only about a quarter to half of a normal adult portion. Of course, with restaurant portions going super-duper-sized, it is no wonder we have lost sight of what a normal portion looks like.
A good way to calculate what serving size your toddler needed: Offer him a tablespoon per food group for every birthday he’s had. For example, a One-year-old might eat one tablespoon of vegetables or one tablespoon of grains.
And a serving for a three-year-old would be, say, three tablespoons of fruit, or three tablespoons of protein. You get the idea.
What should I do! if my toddler refuses to eat?
What should you do when your toddler isn’t in the mood to chow down? Resist the urge to cajole him into eating past the point when he is a full load. It may teach him to ignore his/her hunger and fullness signals, also that can lead to overeating and weight gain later in life.
If your toddler consistently does not seem interested in eating, however, track how much milk also juice he is drinking. If it is more than 16 ounces of milk and 4 ounces of juice a day, all that liquid could be filling him up so that he is not hungry at mealtime. Scale back a little bit on the beverages and see if his appetite improves.
Finally, consider the big picture. Even more important than how much your toddler eats at any single meal is that he/she eats a variety of healthy foods in general. There will be good days or bad days, but if your children is gaining weight, developing on track and is active and energetic, then you can be confident that he is getting plenty to eat.