What a toddler should eat and drink

​Your toddler should eat three small main meals a day with two to three healthy snacks in between. At three years of age, children can usually sense how much food their body needs and will eat accordingly but it is normal for a toddler’s appetite to vary from day to day.

On some days a toddler might eat more than on others; how much they eat can depend on how active they’ve been during the day and how hungry they feel.


Toddlers should eat two to three serves of vegetables a day.

As a guide, a standard serve of vegetables is about seventy-five grams or:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato.


Toddlers should eat half a serve of fruit a day. As a guide, a standard serve of fruit is about a hundred and fifty grams or:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar).


Toddlers typically need four serves of grains daily – wholegrain is best. One serve of grain can include:

  • a slice of bread
  • ½ cup of rice
  • ½ cup of pasta
  • ½ cup of noodles
  • ⅔ cup wheat cereal flakes
  • ¼ cup muesli
  • 1 crumpet or small English muffin.


Toddlers also need one to one-and-a-half serves of dairy a day, which can include:

  • up to 250 ml milk
  • 2 slices of cheese
  • ¾ cup of yoghurt.

Meat and protein

Each day, you should offer toddlers one serve of lean meats, eggs or legumes, for example:

  • 65 g of cooked lean beef, lamb, veal or pork
  • 80 g of cooked lean chicken or turkey
  • 100 g cooked fish fillet
  • 170 g cooked tofu or 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or canned beans.


Toddlers should eat two to three snacks a day in between meals. Healthy snacks that you can feed your toddler include:

  • fruit
  • cut up veggies
  • yoghurt
  • cheese.


Toddlers should drink:

  • breast milk – particularly when they’re not ready to be fully weaned
  • plenty of water – water should be the main drink for your child
  • milk – reduced-fat milk is a good option for children over two. You can give them up to three small cups before they become too full to eat their snacks.