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Changing appetites: how much should your toddler eat

There’s a simple way to know if your little one is getting enough food: let them decide! Toddlers are better at judging their fullness levels than we are. You can safely feed them as much as they’re willing to eat in one meal and know that it’s about the right amount.

Changing appetites: how much should your toddler eat

While you might find guidelines on some packaging or recommendations for how much to serve up, remember they’re not set in stone. Your toddler is a little person, with his or her own appetite and it’ll change from day to day. The key thing to remember is that they won’t starve themselves. If your toddler needs to eat, they will.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re worried:

  • Hunger grows – how much a toddler eats can vary depending on when they first started on solids. Infants who started earlier may have built more of an appetite for solid foods by the time they’re 12 months.
  • Deceptive looking dishes – it’s easy to forget, but the same quantity of food can appear different depending on how it’s served. For instance food that’s diced vs food that pureed.
  • Not feeling great – toddlers who aren’t well, or who are teething probably won’t have much of an appetite for a while. Then when it comes back, don’t be surprised if it’s bigger than ever!
  • Do I have to? -  if your toddler was happy exploring or playing, they might be a little annoyed when you ask them to stop and eat. Odds are they’ll want to finish quickly and get back to their game.
  • Shooting upwards - toddlers will eat more during a growth spurt, and their appetites will drop back somewhat afterwards. 

Remember, as long as your toddler appears happy, and they’re a good weight, you’re on the right track. The vast majority of healthy infants will eat just what they need.  If you do become concerned about their weight and eating habits, make sure you consult your health professional.

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