1 year olds:
- May have a decrease in appetite and may become pickier.
- Need about 1,000 calories a day.
- As they grow, this calorie need may increase, depending on growth spurts.
- Need 3 meals a day.
- Need healthy snacks throughout the day.
- Can usually drink out of a cup (depending on their developmental needs) and get more of their calories from solid food than milk.
1 to 2 year olds:
- Can start using a child-safe fork and spoon.
- Still need 3 meals a day.
- Still need healthy snacks between meals every day.
- Can choose from 3-4 options at meals.
- Can point to foods, name foods, name their colors, and try new foods, making meal time a learning activity.
2 to 3 year olds:
- May start to help during mealtime and tell you what they like. It is important to include foods you know your child likes, but also introduce new items.
- Continue to eat 3 meals a day and healthy snacks between meals as needed.
- Continue to learn new words and good behavior during meals.
- Know when they are full. It is unhealthy to force them to “clean their plate” or finish their meal.
May be influenced by advertising. Make sure that you are offering healthy options at each meal. During this phase of life, healthy (or unhealthy) eating habits are formed.
- May be picky about some foods. Keep introducing them in small portions, but don’t force the food on them. They may soon discover that they do like the food that they’ve been avoiding.
- For more information on what a 3-year-old needs, see Healthy Children.