Daily dietary guidelines for children 2-3 years
Toddlers need a wide variety of healthy foods. You decide what your toddler eats from the 5 food groups. Your child decides whether to eat and how much. Think about what your child eats over a week, rather than a day.
Toddlers need plenty of water – the cheapest, healthiest and most thirst-quenching drink. Offer extra water on hot or humid days. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, flavoured milk or water, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Food groups: daily serves of fruit, vegetables, cereals and grains
Fruit: 1 serve = 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear; or 2 small plums, kiwi fruits or apricots; or 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar). Offer 1 serve a day.
Vegetables: 1 serve = ½ medium potato (or sweet potato or corn); or ½ cup cooked vegies (like broccoli, spinach, carrots, pumpkin); or 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegies; or ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans or lentils. Offer 2½ serves a day.
Cereal and grains: 1 serve = 1 slice of bread; or ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa or polenta; or ½ cup porridge; or ⅔ cup wheat cereal flakes; or ¼ cup muesli; or 1 crumpet or small English muffin. Wholegrain is best. Offer 4 serves a day.
Food groups: daily serves of dairy, protein and healthy fats
Dairy: 1 serve = 1 cup (250 ml) pasteurised cow’s milk; or 1 cup dairy alternative like soy or rice milk with at least 100 mg of added calcium per 100 ml; or 2 slices cheese; or ¾ cup (200 gm) yoghurt; or ½ cup ricotta cheese. Choose mostly reduced-fat dairy. Offer 1½ serves a day.
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes: 1 serve = 65 gm cooked lean beef, lamb, veal or pork; or 80 gm cooked lean chicken or turkey; or 100 gm cooked fish fillet or 170 gm cooked tofu or 2 large eggs; or 1 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or canned beans; or 1½ tablespoons nut or seed pastes (whole nuts are a choking risk). Offer 1 serve a day.
Healthy fats: you can include ½ serve of unsaturated fat per day in cooking, baking, pastes or dressings. 1 serve = 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 gm) of olive, canola and rice bran oil or margarine made from these oils; 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 gm) of nut or seed pastes; or 1 tablespoon (20 gm) of avocado.
Avoid foods like cakes, biscuits, chips, lollies, processed meats and fried or takeaway foods. They’re high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.