Portion Sizes for 1-4 year olds

Use our portion size ranges to find out how much is too much.

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Tot It Up

Use our toddler food tracker to check that your 1-4 year olds are getting a good balance of foods and activity

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Guidance & Tips for Parents

 

BREAD, CEREALS AND POTATOES

Serve at each meal and offer some as snacks. For example:

  • Breakfast – cereal and/or bread, toast or chapatti.
  • Lunch and evening meal – potatoes, rice, pasta, couscous, bread, yam or plantain.
  • Snacks – bread, bread sticks, rice cakes or crackers, other foods based on flour such as pancakes, tea bread and scones.

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FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Serve at each meal so that your toddler learns they are a normal part of each meal. Aim for about five servings a day.

  • Serve fruit at breakfast and at least one vegetable and one fruit at lunch and the evening meal.
  • Set a good example by eating fruit and vegetables yourself.
  • Cut raw fruit and vegetables into slices, cubes or sticks as toddlers find these easier to eat than a large whole fruit.
  • Toddlers often prefer the flavour of vegetables that have been stir fried, roasted or baked rather than boiled.

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MILK, CHEESE AND YOGURT

Serve three times a day. Toddlers need less milk than babies and you should aim to replace bottles with beakers and cups by your child’s first birthday. One serving is:

  • About 120ml (4oz) glass or cup of milk.
  • A 120g pot of full fat yogurt or fromage frais.
  • Cheese in a sandwich or on top of a pizza slice.
  • A serving of custard or another milk pudding made with whole milk.
  • A serving of food in a white cheese sauce such as macaroni cheese.
  • Some toddlers may continue with breastfeeds.

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MEAT, FISH AND VEGETARIAN ALTERNATIVES

Serve once or twice a day for non-vegetarians and two or three times a day for vegetarians. Always serve a high vitamin C food with vegetarian meals to ensure good absorption of iron.

  • Most toddlers prefer softer cuts of meat such as chicken, minced meat, sausages, pate or slowly baked meat. Some will refuse hard, chewy textures.
  • Serve oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines in fish cakes or fish pie up to twice a week for girls and four times a week for boys.
  • Vegetarian alternatives include eggs, ground or chopped nuts and pulses such as beans, chickpeas, hummus, lentils and dhal.
  • High vitamin C foods include tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple and fruit juices high in vitamin C.

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FOODS HIGH IN FAT AND SUGAR

Allow some each day with, but not instead of, the other food groups.

  • Olive oil, soya oil, walnut oil and rapeseed oil give a good balance of omega 3 and 6 fats. “Pure vegetable oil” is often rapeseed oil.
  • Include cake, biscuits or ice cream with fruit as a pudding sometimes.
  • Allow sweets, chocolate and confectionery occasionally as part of a pudding. However too much sugary food may harm your child’s teeth.
  • Dilute sweetened drinks and serve in beakers or cups, not bottles, to reduce the risk of dental decay.
  • Only rarely offer salty snacks such as crisps.

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