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Guide to Toddler Portion Sizes

Guide to Toddler Portion Sizes. It's important to be aware of toddler portion sizes, too! Here's our comprehensive guide to toddler nutrition! https://www.superhealthykids.com/guide-to-toddler-portion-sizes/

It’s so exciting when your chubby little baby begins to walk, or ‘toddle’ their way into a toddler.  But with that comes the challenges of feeding and introducing all sorts of wonderful foods to this little person.  A lot of times, it seems they are barely eating enough to sustain a bird, let alone a body who is constantly on the move! How do you know how much to feed them?

Generally toddlers are very good at listening to their hunger and satiety cues.  Sometimes as parents, we don’t trust their cues and think “Surely they must be hungry, they haven’t eaten in 3 hours!”  This is where the feeding relationship comes in.

The parent’s role is to buy the right food, and prepare it in a nutritious and creative way.  The child determines how much, when and if they eat.  Erratic eating habits are normal for little kids – they may eat well one day and practically nothing the next day.  It’s better to look at your child’s eating habits on a weekly basis – not daily – it’s much less stressful that way!  I strongly believe in this feeding relationship and definitely use it with my children.  We are all happier when we are focused on our own roles.

There are however some basic guidelines as far as portion sizes go.  It is helpful to know if the portion you are serving your toddler is appropriate for their needs.  Here are the basic guidelines for daily amounts and portion sizes for your toddler.

Protein Foods


2 ounces Daily

3 portions daily

One ounce equals:

  One portion equals:

1 oz of cooked beef, poultry, or fish

  1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh, cooked or canned vegetables

1 cooked egg, or 1/4 cup cooked beans








4 portions daily

3 portions daily

One portion equals:

One portion equals:

1/2 cup milk

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh, cooked or canned fruit

1 oz cheese


1/2 cup yogurt






6 portions daily


One portion equals:


1/2 – 1 slice bread


1/4 – 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta


1/2 cup read-to-eat cereal


2 small crackers


1/2 waffle or pancake


1/2 tortilla


1/2 hamburger bun, roll or 3-inch bagel


If you don’t like measuring, a sectioned plate is a great way to estimate portion sizes. 

Toddler Size Meal Examples

Peanut Butter Toast, Peaches, Boiled Egg, Hash browns, Yogurt

Barbeque Chicken, Orange Slices, Steamed Green Peas, and Sweet Potato Crescent Roll

Chili, Baked Corn Chips, Green Salad, Grapes

Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice, Steamed Green Beans, Grapes, Blueberries, Strawberries

Homemade chicken nuggets, Green Pepper, Carrots, Orange Slices, Multigrain Roll

 So what if your toddler doesn’t finish their plate?  It is OK!!  Offer them a variety of nutritious foods, be an example by eating those foods yourself, and don’t stress!  Remember, toddlers are good at listening to their hunger cues.  Being consistent in offering healthy choices and having them stocked in your pantry and fridge is one of the best things you can do to get your kids to eat healthy foods.  What will be on your plate today?

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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This is great information. The plates are a great idea. I’m going to start having kids soon and of course there are so many questions and this totally helps! Thanks for sharing this information. I’m totally afraid of giving my children too much or too little food and this will help taking the guessing out of that!

These are some really great, specific meal ideas! Thank you for sharing! What exact ages are you considering a toddler? Sorry, if I missed this somewhere.

As an occupational therapist and a mom, my experience has been that it is really important to limit snacking between the meals you are planning as well. It doesn’t take much to fill up there little bellies!

Great pictures and ideas!
However, there’s one thing I don’t get. Is a plateful like that a 2yr old’s portion for the whole day or for one meal? How many plates like that should they have a day? Just one, divided into several mealtimes, or three? Should they be eating fruits and meat and veggies combined each mealtime?

I love this website!
Question: My toddler is 18 months and definitely eats more than whats on these plates for dinner. Are we overfeeding him?

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MY KIDS R 5, 4, and 2 and a lot of the time they tell me they r full when they only took 4 bites is this OK I make them eat more but I don’t want to force them sometimes I feel like they r just being lazy and I wasn’t sure what there portion size is?

Great information, I am very big fan of your articles keep up posting these kinds of wonderful information and please can you help me where i can find the plates form.

Thanks for this, it is a great help! I have a 15 month old and he eats well but I was worried I was feeding him too little or too much. Is the food on the plate his portion for the entire day or just for one meal?

Hi Mary, the pictures on the plate are meant to be a single meal. But you don’t need to worry overly about whether your toddler is eating too much or too little. Just let him decide how much he would like to eat at each mealtime. Keep up the good work!

When you go to buy this plate, it says it’s for kids 2-12. That’s a pretty big age range. Your 2 year old is not going to need the same amount as a 12 year old. Wish they were more accurate.

Thanks for the feedback! Definitely there are different nutritional needs. The plate is more a visual tool to help kids be aware of a healthy balanced diet than an exact measuring tool. 🙂

Hello, I have the opposite issue with our 18 month old. He constantly wants to eat and gets so frustrated when I am preparing his food and he has to wait. I am concerned about him always wanting to eat and portion sizes for meals and snacks. Can you help?