how much should my toddler eat?

Understanding how much to feed your toddler can be tricky. The best approach is to let them eat until they have had enough because they know their own appetite. However, this can be easier said than done.

Toddlers often exercise their new-found independence + love to push boundaries. By saying “NO” to dinner, they might realise they’ll get their fave food, a snack or dessert in its place. While they might be hungry, they would often prefer to fill up on ice cream than spag bol.

start with a smaller portion

Putting a plateful of food in front of a child that is similar in size to what you would eat might put them off and lead to food refusal. Start with smaller portions + offer seconds if your toddler is still hungry. This is important because toddlers can be easily overwhelmed by a lot of food. You can always pop more on the plate, but start small and offer more if your toddler is still hungry.

don't use bribery

If your toddler says no because they want their pudding, don’t use bribery with the promise of pud if they eat their dinner. If you want to offer a dessert without the mealtime battle, give them all their food together and if they want to eat their pudding first, then that’s fine! If you continue with this approach, you'll find that they eat a lot more of their dinner than if they’re holding out for dessert!

accept that appetites may change

All toddlers are different, and, like babies, their appetite will change from day to day + child to child. Growth spurts may result in a surge of appetite whereas illness + teething, especially molars coming through, may put your toddler off their food for a few days.

For more info on suggested portion sizes for little kids 12+ months, check out our free handy guide to feeding little tums! To download your exclusive guide simply join Ella's Friends here or log into your account.

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Claire Baseley

Infant nutritionist / Makes Ella's Good