Healthy Eating for 1-3 Year olds

​Toddlers ages 1-3 years are growing and developing quickly and it is an important time to make sure they are eating well to get all the nutrients they need as well as getting into the habit of eating a healthy, varied diet. However, for parents and carers it can be hard to know exactly what toddlers should be eating and in what amounts. This guide is designed to help parents and carers choose a healthy, varied diet for their child.

Young children need a diet made up of foods from the four main food groups, in the right balance and in portion sizes just right for them.

  • Starchy foods x 5-a-day
  • Fruit and vegetables x 5-a-day
  • Dairy foods x 3-a-day
  • Protein foods x 2-a-day*


*3 portions if your child is vegetarian

Children’s food preferences and appetites vary from day to day so let your toddler decide how much to eat and keep offering new foods alongside familiar favorites. Fats and oils contain essential nutrients and small amounts can be included in toddlers diets. Use butter and spreads sparingly and use small amounts of oil in cooking.

You can offer small portions of sweet foods (e.g. chocolate, biscuits, cakes) or salty snack foods (e.g. crisps, corn snacks) occasionally but these shouldn’t be a regular part of a toddler’s everyday foods.

Children under 5 should have a daily supplement of vitamins A, C and D – ask your GP, health visitor or pharmacist for more information

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Healthy Eating for 1-3 Year olds