Feeding Your 12-24 Months old Toddler

Halsey Schools Preschool Infant & Toddler Care in Woodland Hills

Guidelines for feeding your toddler

Follow these general guidelines for feeding your healthy toddler. If you have any questions, please let us or your child’s physician know.

Limit high sugar and high fat foods, offer variety

Your toddler needs to eat a variety of foods every day but make sure you limit high sugar and high fat foods so your toddler has room for healthy  foods. Too much milk, juice, or sugary drinks can “fill up” your child.

Prevent Tooth Decay

  • Let your toddler begin to drink from a small cup with a spill‐proof top. Later, let your toddler practice drinking from a small cup without the spill‐proof top. Remember, spills are normal and offer a great opportunity to learn about cleaning up. 🙂
  • Toddlers should stop drinking from a bottle by the time they are 12 to 14 months old.
  • Do not let your toddler sip juice, milk, or sweet drinks frequently during the day or at bedtime. Instead, you can give your toddler water when he or she is thirsty between meals or at bedtime.
  • Make sure to brush teeth 2 times a day.

Prevent Choking

  • Your child  should always sit up while eating and be told to take small bites and completely chew food before swallowing.
  • Cut soft fruits and cooked vegetables into small pieces— not in round, coin‐shaped slices. Remove seeds, pits, and tough skins. Make sure grapes, cherries, and berries are cut into small pieces.
  • Cut hot dogs and sausage‐shaped meats into small, thin pieces—not in round, coin‐shaped slices.
  • Mash cooked beans.

These foods can cause choking and should not be given to your toddler:

  • ice cubes
  • marshmallows
  • raisins and other dried fruit
  • large chunks of meat
  • hot, sticky breads
  • popcorn, pretzels, and chips
  • raw vegetables such as carrots and celery
  • fish, chicken, or turkey with bones
  • nuts, seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter
  • gum drops, chewing gum, and round‐shaped candies

Eat Fish, Choose Wisely

  • Young children can eat 2 meals a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Each meal can be a portion size of 2 to 3 ounces.
  • Some fish low in mercury are: canned light tuna, catfish (farm‐raised), pollock, salmon, scallops, shad, shrimp, tilapia, whitefish, and whiting.
  • Due to their mercury content, do not eat the following: Shark, King Mackerel, Swordfish, Tilefish, and Orange Roughy.

Daily Food Guide for Toddlers Ages 12 to 24 months

  • Use this food guide to help you choose foods to serve to your toddler each day. The total amount your toddler eats will vary depending on his or her activity level and growth.
  • Typical portion sizes for toddlers are shown in each food group below and in the meal and snack ideas. Portion sizes for toddlers are usually smaller than portion sizes for adults and older children.
  • Toddlers should be offered 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks per day.
Protein Foods – 2 ounces every day Vegetables – 3 portions every day
One ounce equals:

  • 1 oz well‐cooked and chopped meat, poultry, or fish;
  • 1 cooked egg; or
  • 1⁄4 cup cooked beans
One portion equals:

  • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup cooked, chopped vegetables
  • 1⁄2 cup 100% vegetable juice
Dairy – 4 portions every day Grains – 6 portions every day
One portion equals:

  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk
  • 1 oz cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup yogurt

Introduce skim/low fat milk after 2 years old.

One portion equals:

  • 1⁄2 to 1 slice of bread
  • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • 1⁄2 cup ready‐to‐eat cereal
  • 2 small plain crackers
  • 1⁄2 waffle or pancake
  • 1⁄2 tortilla
  • 1⁄2 hamburger bun, roll, or 3‐inch bagel
Fruits – 3 portions every day Oils – 3 teaspoons every day
One portion equals:

  • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
  • 1⁄2 cup 100% fruit juice but limit fruit juice to 4 to 6 oz per day.
One teaspoon (5 grams) oil equals:

  • 1 teaspoon liquid vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon low‐fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon margarine with zero trans fat

Limit solid fats: butter, margarine, shortening, lard…

Sample Meals for Toddlers

Sample Menu 1 Sample Menu 2


  • 1⁄2 cup cereal
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup 100% fruit juice


  • 1⁄2 hamburger on roll
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked green beans
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped peaches
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk


  • 1 ounce chopped chicken
  • 1⁄2 cup noodles
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked green peas
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped oranges
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk


  • 4 animal crackers & 1/2  cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt & 1/2 cup chopped strawberries


  • 1 cooked egg
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • 1⁄2 cup 100% fruit juice


  • 1⁄2 cup macaroni and cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked, chopped broccoli
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped grapes
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk


  • 3⁄4 cup rice and beans
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked, chopped carrots
  • 1⁄4 cup applesauce
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk


  • 2 graham crackers  &1⁄2 banana
  • 2 whole grain crackers & 1 slice cheese
Jenni Rice - Owner & Director
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