September 02, 2014

Toddler Serving Sizes and Calorie requirements

I received a great article regarding toddler nutrition at our last pediatrician visit and wanted to pass along some of the great info.  The article, titled, “Feeding Toddlers,” by Loraine Stern, MD, FAAP is sponsored by Gerber.

In the article, Dr. Stern reviews portion sizes for children ages 1-3.  Stern states that children between these ages need 40 calories for every inch of height.  Rules for serving sizes for the 1 to 3-year-old is roughly 1/4 that of an adult serving.  Servings, calories and serving sizes break down as follows:

Grains: 6 servings per day, roughly 250 calories.  1/4 to 1/2 slice of bread, dry cereal, 1/4 cup, ceral, rice, pasta (cooked) 4 tablespoons, 1 to 2 crackers.

Veggies: 2 to 3 servings, roughly 75 calories.  Cooked veggies 1 tablespoon for every year of age.

Fruits: 2 to 3 servings, roughly 75 calories.  Cooked or canned 1/4 cup, fresh 1/2 piece, juice 2-4 oz.

Dairy: 2 to 3 servings, 300 to 450 calories.  Milk, 1/2 cup, cheese 1/2 ounce (1-inch cube), yougart 1/3 cup.  (My daughters pediatrician also recommended not giving milk before meal time because fats will fill your little one up, causing them to eat less)

Protien (meat, fish, poultry, tofu): 2 servings, 200 calories.  1 oz. (equal to two 1-inch cubes of solid meat or 2 tablespoons of ground meat), egg, 1/2 any size, yolk and white.

Legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils): 2 servings, 200 calories.  Soaked and cooked, 2 tablespoons.

Good luck finding things your little one will eat!

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About the Author: Renee is a Co-Founder of MomsToWork and a mom to two great kids. Follow @reneeyaborough





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  1. joy says:

    Hmm, your post is interesting Renee. I did not know that toddlers need 40 calories per inch of height.

    Is that per day or per meal? (I’d suspect per meal…)

  2. renee says:

    According to the article, it’s 40 calories per inch of height daily. E.g. if your toddler is 32 inches in height, they should be getting 1280 (roughly 1300) calories per day.

  3. Fran says:

    I agree. I usually count on Ann Taylor, but lately the quality has been faltering. I love the pants and they fit me better than every brand, but they are boring and predictable now and the quality has definitely deteriorated.

  4. [...] just how much should you feed your toddler? Check out Renee’s related post on toddler serving sizes and calorie requirements. Share this Moms to Work [...]

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