These specific nutritional needs translate into the following guidelines for feeding a toddler: Every day serve:
- 2 to 3 cups of milk (milk can take many forms like yogurt, cheese, pudding) Some children are not good milk drinkers and must rely on other foods for their protein. Conversely, other toddlers drink milk to the exclusion of other foods, resulting in deficiencies of iron or other nutrients.
- 4 servings of fruits and vegetables (one tablespoon per year of age is the rule for serving size) One serving should be high in Vitamin C and one should be high in vitamin A.
- 4 servings of bread and cereal, although toddlers are apt to eat more in this department. This is okay so long as it doesn't lead to the exclusion of some other food group. One serving should be of an iron fortified baby cereal. A serving size is about 1/4 to 1/3 an adult portion. e.g 1/4 slice toast, 1/4 cup pasta
- 2 servings of meat, beans, eggs, tofu. A good serving of protein should be fed at every meal. One serving equals 1 /2 ounce.
A meal should provide protein, bread or cereal, fruit or vegetable or both, and milk.
As you can see, toddlers need remarkably little food. A typical meal may consist of 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 slice toast, a few bites of scrambled egg, and a tablespoon of applesauce. It doesn't look like much. But toddlers are small and they are not growing too quickly. So, it's not surprising the most common concern of toddler's parents is "My child doesn't eat enough, especially vegetables." The second most common concern is "My child is a very picky eater She'll only eat a limited number of foods."