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As a parent or carer, we know the importance of introducing a healthy diet to our tots.  Food that is bursting with nutrition contributes to healthy growth and development, which is vital as they transition from baby to toddler.  The main food groups to consider are starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, dairy and protein, so if you have ever wondered how much your little one should be eating then we have created this handy guide for reference.       

One portion is the size of their palm.  So, this could be a handful of rice, or a slice of something larger eg melon.  This of course is just a guideline, remember no one knows your child better than you, so you can easily adapt this to suit.  If your child is physically active or takes part in regular sports groups for example, then you may want to increase a portion or two on these days, after all food is energy.

Don’t worry if each recommendation isn’t met each meal, you could always incorporate them as part of healthy snacks.  The recommended daily intake is three meals and two snacks per day, but you don’t have to strictly adhere to it. It’s also worth mentioning that each child is different and will eat when they are ready so again, if they don’t hit the recommended amounts, it’s ok.  As long as your child is happy, healthy and growing as they should, it won’t cause any harm. 

It’s also important to remember that food should never be used as a reward or punishment, meal times are a fantastic opportunity for family time, conversation and connection, so never force your little one to eat, as long as they stay hydrated and eat well throughout the week, they will have all the nutrients they need for a healthy lifestyle.  See our blog on fussy eaters for further tips and advice in this area.

Starchy Foods - 5 portions a day as part of a meal or snack

  • ½ to 1 slice of medium bread
  • ¼ to ½ tortilla wrap
  • ¼ to ½ pitta bread, naan, chapati
  • 2 breadsticks
  • Up to 5 tablespoons of cereal
  • Up to 5 tablespoons of pasta
  • Up to 3 tablespoons of potatoes - mashed, boiled, roasted, bakes, chips or wedges
  • Up to 5 tablespoons of rice or cous cous

Dairy Foods - 3 portions a day as part of a meal or snack

  • Up to 20g of processed cheese - Babybel, cheese triangle, cheese string
  • Up to 3 tablespoons of grated cheese
  • Up to 100ml of cows milk
  • 125g standard yoghurt pot
  • 2 60g fromage frais
  • Up to 6 tablespoons of custard
  • Up to 4 tablespoons of rice pudding
  • 120g soya yoghurt

Note: 2 year old children can switch from drinking whole milk to semi-skimmed if they are eating a balanced diet.

Fruit & Vegetables - 5 portions a day as part of a meal or snack

  • Up to ½ an apple, orange, medium mango or pear (1 portion each)
  • Up to 1 medium banana
  • Up to 8 average sized strawberries
  • Up to 1 plum
  • Up to 3 dried apricots
  • Up to 8 raspberries
  • Up to 10 blueberries
  • Up to 3 mushrooms
  • Up to 2 tablespoons of cooked squash, turnip, peas, leeks, spinach, sweet potato, greens, carrots, cauliflower, courgette, broccoli (1 portion each)

Protein - 2 or 3 portions a day as part of a meal or as a snack

  • ½ to 1 slice of ham, beef, turkey or pork
  • Up to 2 tablespoons of prawns, tinned tuna, tinned salmon, scrambled eggs, hummus, kidney beans, nuts (ground)
  • Up to 3 tablespoons of baked beans, lentis, chickpeas, dhal
  • Peanut butter on bread or toast
  • ½ to 1 boiled egg
  • 2 fish fingers
  • Up to 4 tablespoons of mince meat

So now you know how much your little ones should be eating, why not put it to use by making some delicious meals from our organic meal ideas blog.  Then, don’t forget about the mealtime feeding essentials your tots are sure to love including plates, bowls, bibs and of course muslin cloths for any spills.

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