What a Serve of Food Means for a Toddler

Grab our free printable below to see precisely what a serve of food means for a toddler.

Toddlers are notorious at being picky pants when it comes to food. One minute they’re wolfing down the spagbol you lovingly cooked, the next they’ve tipped the bowl upside down on their head and are eyeing the remains suspiciously. At this stage it’s sometimes hard to know exactly how much your tiny terror has actually eaten and indeed, how much they should be eating.

How much food do toddlers need?

You want to give your toddler a balanced diet but what does that really mean in small tummy terms? Have a look at the free printable below to see precisely what a serve of food means when it comes to kids aged one-to-three years. As they grow, so their energy (and therefore food) needs increase, which is why we’ve specified how many serves of fruit and veggies, protein and dairy these mini tornados of energy need to keep them healthy at ages one-to-two years and two-to-three years.

Print it out and stick it on your fridge door as a handy reference next time you’re ducking banana chunks from a toddler whose aim is a mite better than their eating habits …

This article was written by Ruth Devine for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz

For a larger, printable version of the image, click here.

toddler serve


  1. dawnblyth 31/03/2019 at 9:58 pm

    Great visual – glad to know that the portions I am feeding Mr 4 are pretty accurate. I sometimes wonder if he is eating enough at meal times but to see a visual representation like this is great.

  2. kymmage 31/03/2019 at 9:38 pm

    That is an interesting chart. Some of the serve sizes look massive for a tiny tummy. But that might be because my own older kids would eat about that. I imagine they need similar amounts because they are growing and developing so quickly.

  3. felicity beets 28/03/2019 at 7:13 pm

    This is a really handy chart – my one year old loves fruit though and would eat more than 1/2 serve. Snacks definitely work well for us.

  4. Alezandra 27/03/2019 at 12:46 am

    This poster would have been a good guide for what a serving is. It was hard to determine if I was giving enough nutrients with the food I gave my toddler. He’s now 4 and I would love a guide for this stage onwards.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 26/03/2019 at 12:14 pm

    This is a super handy chart! Thankfully our two year old has always been such an awesome eater and hopefully she continues to be as we have never had to worry about her dietary intake.

  6. SarahBlair 19/03/2019 at 11:06 am

    This is a really handy chart, sometimes as adults we forget how small kids really are and possibly expect them to eat more than they should be

  7. Mands1980 17/03/2019 at 6:42 pm

    This is quite a handy chart to know what is a true toddlers size portion and the different serves of food. Toddlers pick food often and don’t eat big meals but luckily this gives all parents an idea.

  8. Bevik1971 07/03/2019 at 12:44 pm

    Good table – it’s quite hard with toddlers as yes they can definitely be picky eaters, sometimes eating a big amount and sometimes living on fresh air! You do tend to forget sometimes that their tummies are a lot smaller than ours and can only fit a certain amount in them 🙂 My girl let us know when she was hungry and so we fed her – lots of snacks throughout the day seemed to work best for her.

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