Toddler Portion Sizes

Now that the girls are officially toddlers, it was only a matter of time before my feeding focus turned to the question of how much should my toddlers eat daily. A bit of research later and here's what I found out.

How many calories does a toddler need? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) a toddler needs 40 calories per inch of height. This is the maximum they'll need and it can be lower based on activity level.

What's a toddler serving size? One quarter of an adult serving. For vegetables, one serving is one tablespoon per year/age.
One meat serving is about the size of the toddler's hand (I love this tip. Easy to remember)

How much milk does a toddler need? The consensus is 16 to 24oz daily. Milk is the primary source of protein and calcium. Dairy products like yogurt and cheese can be substitutes but not necessarily ounce for ounce.

AAP website
Earth's Best examples of toddler portion sizes from age 1 to 6
iVillage - Toddler nutritional requirement for 1-3 year olds
Toddler feeding guide from the Canadian Pediatric Society
Wholesome Toddler Food - Some links are broken but still a good resource


  1. The milk thing was tough for us. You just can't measure breastmilk output.

  2. @Brad, you do have a point there :)

  3. I should have read this before dinner tonight. We just couldn't feed them enough for some reason tonight!

  4. Good to know exactly what they should be eating! I usually take an adult portion size, then split it equally between the two girls. I think that equates to approximately the amount they need, but it may be more. I would rather offer them too much than not enough, you know? Hmm...maybe that's why my girls are so!
    Some days they might eat half of what I put in front of them and other days they eat it all and want more! Crazy!

  5. oh my...toddlers can be hard to feed! i feel like my girls go through spurts--some days, i can't give them enough food. all they do is eat and eat. other times, i'm worried they're going to starve because they don't want anything!
    thanks for the guide....i found you through M&M blog hop :)


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