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Serving Sizes for Toddlers

by Cheryl Tallman and Joan AhlersNaps are important for your child’s health and growth. A nap refreshes a child so that she can maintain her energy for the rest of the day. Studies show that children who nap are more adaptable, have longer attention spans, and are less fussy than those who don’t nap.

Parents often wonder how much food should their little ones (1-2 years old) be eating. Recent media coverage suggests over the past 20 years, restaurants and food companies have been increasing their serving sizes. This trend is considered to be a contributing factor in the rise in obesity (among adults and children).

We all know that children should eat less than adults. After all, they are smaller. The following are some serving size guidelines for a 1-2 year old that may help you out.

Milk/Dairy: Servings: 16-20 ounces of milk per day. Whole milk, soy or rice milk are recommended. Other equivalents: 1/2 -3/4 ounce of cheese = 4 ounces of milk. 1/4 cup of yogurt = 2 ounces of milk.

Fruits and veggies: Servings: 5 or more per day. Serving size: 1-2 tablespoons – Pureed, mashed, or cubed.

Grains: Servings: 3-4 per day. Serving sizes: 1/2 slice of bread, 1/4 cup of cooked cereal, 1/4 cup of dry cereal. 1/4 cup of pasta, 2-3 saltine crackers, or 1/2 tortilla.

Non-dairy Proteins (meat, fish, beans, eggs): Servings: 2 per day. Serving sizes: 1/2 egg, 2-3 tablespoons beans (i.e. black, pinto, edamame, etc…), 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or 1 ounce of fish, lean beef, pork or chicken.

About the Authors
Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby, creators or products such as homemade baby food kits, baby food cookbooks, baby food and breast milk storage trays, breastfeeding reminders, and child development diaries (
www.FreshBaby.com). Visit them online at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family’s healthy eating habits!


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