Toddler food on this page refers to the food you are feeding your child who is now over a year old (for information on the food to feed babies under a year of age, click here.
You can click on a link below to go straight to a specific question, or just keeping reading for a full overview.
To read about the nutritional requirements for toddlers, click here (opens in a new page).
n the first year, your baby is just getting used to having digest food. By 12 months, she is having solids and feeding herself finger food.
After 12 months of age, you can start giving your toddler food that the family eats.
After 12 months of age, your baby can have cow's milk rather than formula or breast milk. Your toddler will only need about 2 cups of milk per day (so 16 ounces or 480 mls per day). Drinking more milk than that isn't good for toddlers as it can lead to iron deficiency.
Cow's milk is a poor source of iron - unlike formula milk which is usually fortified with iron. Cow's milk can cause minor irritation of the stomach lining which can lead to slight blood loss and that lowers iron even more.
Toddlers love milk and would drink it all day but too much isn't good for them. Your toddler doesn't have high iron stores anyway and when she becomes low in iron (iron deficient) she will lose her appetite and only want more milk. Often mothers are so worried that their toddler is not eating that they are happy to give more milk - but that only keeps the problem going.
Your toddler shouldn't be having more than 2 cups of cow's milk per day (so 16 ounces or 480 mls per day).
Iron is important for learning so it's important you give your toddler food rich in iron like fruit, vegetables, lean meat, chicken and fish.
Don't give tea as this contains substances that stop iron being absorbed by the body.
Iron rich foods include:
cereals that say they are fortified with iron
You can increase the iron your toddler absorbs by giving her lots of Vitamin C as well. Foods high in Vitamin C include:
Toddlers need full fat milk until they are at least 2 years old. Children under 5 years should not be given non-fat milk but can have low fat milk after the age of 2 years.
Offer small amounts frequently. I suggest 3 meals and 2 - 3 snacks per day - so breakfast, lunch and dinner are the meals and give snacks mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and perhaps before bed.
Approximate serving sizes for toddler food are one serving is the size of your toddler's palm of the hand.
For a main meal, there would be one serving of protein (eg. meat, eggs), one serving of carbohydrate (eg. bread, pasta, potato) and 2 servings of vegetables, so the equivalent of 4 servings which would be the size of 4 palms of your toddler's hand.
Alternatively, you can use the guide below which gives approximate sizes for toddler food between the ages of 2 and 6 years.
After the first year, weight increases are not as great as in the first year. Toddlers are often picky eaters but they only have to put on about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) per year. So toddler food only needs to contain about 1000 calories per day. To read more about picky eaters, click here
To ensure your child is growing appropriately for her age, view growth charts.
Last reviewed 20 Msrch 2015
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