Use our Toddler Meal planning tool to ensure your 1-4 years old receives a balanced diet every day.Find out more >
Use our portion size ranges to find out how much is too much.Find out more >
Use our toddler food tracker to check that your 1-4 year olds are getting a good balance of foods and activityFind out more >
This educational programme for frontline professionals contains a range of practical resources on infant feeding.Find out more >
Guidance & Tips for Parents
The food groups are:
- 1. Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods,
- 2. Fruit and vegetables,
- 3. Milk, cheese and yogurt,
- 4. Meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses,
- 5. Foods high in fat and sugar.
- Are based on a starchy food such as bread, toast or breakfast cereal
- Include milk, yogurt, cheese, egg or meat such as bacon or ham
- Include some fruit.
- Breakfast cereal with milk, plus some fruit pieces
- Egg with toast and some diluted fruit juice.
- Are based on starchy foods – bread, rice, potatoes or pasta
- Include vegetables cooked, raw or in sauces or soups
- Include a food from Food Groups 3 or 4 to provide some protein.
- Shepherd’s pie served with one or two vegetables
- Ham pizza served with salad vegetables
- Dhal with rice and vegetables
- Tuna pasta bake with vegetables
- Leek and potato soup with grated cheese
- Meat or cheese sandwiches with raw vegetable sticks.
- Include fruit on its own or
- Along with yogurt or a pudding made with nutritious ingredients such as milk, flour, rice, bread, eggs or nuts.
- Yogurt with fruit
- Fresh fruit with a biscuit
- Fruit crumble with custard or ice cream
- Fruit sponge pudding
- Pancakes with pureed fruit or fruit pieces.
Combine foods from groups 1-4
- Fresh fruit but not dried fruit
- Vegetable sticks, e.g. carrot, cucumber, pepper, baby corn with dips based on yogurt, cream cheese or pulses in such dishes as hummus
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals with milk
- Cheese cubes and crackers/breadsticks or chapatti
- Sandwiches, bread rolls and pitta breads with fillings
- Vegetable bhajis
- Slices of pizza with a plain dough base that has not been fried
- Yogurt and fromage frais
- Crumpets, scones, pitta bread, toast or French toast with a spread
- Currant buns and teacakes
- Pancakes, fruit muffins and plain biscuits*
- Cakes containing dried fruit or vegetables or nuts, e.g. fruit cake and carrot cake.*
- Spreads include butter, jam*, honey*, peanut butter, chocolate spread*, cream cheese, cottage cheese.
* indicates snacks or spreads that contain added sugar and must be limited to protect teeth.
Offer to toddlers at each meal and snack – about 100-120ml or 3-4oz is adequate.
- Water is a good choice and should also be available throughout the day especially in hot weather and after physical activity
- Milk does not damage teeth but should be limited to three drinks a day or less if toddlers are also eating yogurt and cheese
- Sweet drinks including fruit juices, smoothies, squashes and fizzy drinks can all damage teeth because they contain sugar and acid. They should only be offered occasionally and, as with sweet foods, only with meals and at no more than one snack per day
- Diet fizzy drinks and sugar free squashes are acidic and will also damage teeth.