Age-by-age Guide to Feeding your Toddler

Age: 12 to 18 months

Signs of readiness for self-feeding

  • Can start to use a spoon himself (though proficiency will take a while!)

What to feed

  • Whole milk
  • Other dairy (soft pasteurized cheese, full-fat yogurt and cottage cheese)
  • Same food as family, mashed or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Other grains (whole wheat bread, pasta, rice)
  • New fruits: melon, papaya, apricot, grapefruit (citrus is now okay)
  • New vegetables: broccoli and cauliflower “trees”
  • Protein (eggs; cut-up or ground meat, poultry, boneless fish; tofu; beans; thinly spread smooth peanut butter)
  • Citrus and non-citrus juice
  • Honey is now okay

How much per day

  • 2 to 3 servings dairy (1 serving = 1 cup milk, 15 to 25 gram cheese, 1/3 to ½ cup yogurt or cottage cheese)
  • 4 to 6 servings cereals and other grains (1 serving = ¼ to 1/3 cup cereal, ¼ cup pasta or rice, ¼ to ½ slice bread or bagel)
  • ¼ to ½ cup fruit
  • ¼ to ½ cup vegetables
  • 2 servings protein (1 serving = 2 tablespoons ground or meat cubes, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; ¼ cup tofu or cooked beans; 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter)
  • 75 to 120 ml juice

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your child’s not allergic.
  • Choking hazards are still a danger.

Age: 18 to 24 months

Feeding skills to look for

  • Self-feeding
  • Food phrases like “more” and “all done”


What to feed

  • Whole milk
  • Other dairy (natural hard cheese, soft pasteurized cheese, full-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, pudding)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oat, mixed cereals)
  • Other grains (whole wheat bread and crackers, cut-up bagels, pretzels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, rice)
  • Fruit, cooked, canned or fresh, cut up or sliced (apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, pears, cherries, grapes, plums, oranges, grapefruit)
  • Dried fruit, soaked until soft so it won’t pose a choking hazard (apples, apricots, peaches, pears, dates, pitted prunes, raisins)
  • Vegetables, cooked and mashed or diced (carrots, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, yams, potatoes, peas)
  • Protein (eggs; cut-up or ground meat, poultry, boneless fish; tofu; beans; smooth peanut butter)
  • Combo foods like macaroni and cheese, casseroles
  • Fruit and vegetable juices

How much per day

  • 2 to 3 servings dairy (1 serving = ½ cup milk; 15 to 25 gram cheese; 1/3 to ½ cup yogurt or cottage cheese; ¼ cup pudding)
  • 6 servings grains (1 serving = ¼ to ½ slice bread or bagel; 1 or 2 crackers; ¼ cup pasta or rice; 1/3 to ½ cup cooked or ready-to-eat cereal)
  • 2 to 3 servings fruit (1 serving = ¼ cup cooked or canned, ½ piece fresh; 1/8 cup dried; ¼ to ½ cup juice)
  • 2 to 3 servings vegetables (1 serving = 1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 servings protein (1 serving = 2 tablespoons ground or meat cubes, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; ¼ cup tofu or cooked beans; 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter)

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your child’s not allergic.
  • Choking hazards are still a danger.

Age: 24 to 36 months

Feeding skills to look for

  • Self-feeding
  • Eagerness to make own food choices

What to feed

  • Low-fat milk
  • Other dairy (diced or grated cheese; low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Other grains (whole wheat bread and crackers, cut-up bagels, pretzels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereal, pasta, rice)
  • Fruits, sliced fresh or canned
  • Dried fruit, soaked until soft so it won’t pose a choking hazard (apples, apricots, peaches, pears, dates, pitted prunes, raisins)
  • Vegetables, cooked and cut up
  • Protein (eggs; cut-up or ground meat, poultry, boneless fish; tofu; beans; smooth peanut butter)
  • Combo foods like macaroni and cheese, casseroles
  • Fruit and vegetable juices

How much per day

One serving for a child this age is about ¼ the size of an adult serving.

  • 2 to 3 servings dairy (1 serving = ½ cup milk; 15 to 25 gram cheese; ½ cup yogurt; ¼ to ¼ cup cottage cheese; ¼ cup pudding)
  • 6 servings grains (1 serving = ½ slice bread or bagel; 1 or 2 crackers; ¼ to ½ cup pasta or rice; 1/3 to ½ cup cooked or ready-to-eat cereal)
  • 2 to 3 servings fruit (1 serving = ¼ cup cooked or canned, ½ piece fresh, or ¼ to ½ cup juice)
  • 2 to 3 servings vegetables (1 serving = 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 servings protein (1 serving = 2 tablespoons ground or meat cubes meat, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; ¼ cup tofu or cooked beans; 1 tablespoon peanut butter)

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your child’s not allergic.
  • Choking hazards are still a danger.

Your child may seem to eat less than before — that’s perfectly normal at this stage. If you wonder whether he’s getting enough calories, use this guideline: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child get about 40 calories (0.16736 kilojoules) a day for every inch (25.4 millimeters) of height.

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About Helouise Steenkamp

I'm a 45 plus, Devoted Wife and Mother. Adonai has blessed us with two Amazingly Wonderful Sons. We have had the privilege of being Place of Safety parents for 1 1/2 years and there after foster parents to a Darling Princess for 5 years. She was reconciled with her biological parents in Dec'14. Our hearts are still aching from the loss, but we know that as we trust Adonai with our salvation, so we can trust Him with her future. We welcomed our new 4 year old foster child on 05JUN'15.
This entry was posted in Daily Routine Schedules, Ouerondersteuningsgroep, Place of Safety Advice. Bookmark the permalink.

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