Toddler Meal Plan

Children from about one year old, will have been weaned onto solid foods, and can effectively eat the same foods as an adult, though obviously in different amounts. This stage in life is vital to good development both physically and mentally, therefore optimum nutrition is vital, not only for the child's health, but also reduction in risk of disease later in life.

These few years are also times where the child experiments with a whole range of different foods and meals, and can shape eating patterns for their whole life. Try to steer your child away from processed foods and confectionary, and choose more traditional 'healthy' alternatives, though don't let them feel too left out from the other kids in the playgroup, and occasional treats are fine.

The following example meal plan has been designed for a 'typical' toddler from the age of around one to around five years old. It's been compiled to be nutritionally balanced to suit a child who's active and accounts for different likes and dislikes. Try to get your child to try different food choices, but remember if they really do not like a particular food, they need not have it; just praise them for trying it. Obviously all kids are different, so like all plans, it is merely an example and needs to be adapted to suit different circumstances.

Use this to give you an idea of what healthy nutritious foods are good to include, but don't forget get your child to drink plenty of fluid through the day. Try also to make foods fun and easy to eat; kids do often enjoy fruit, but won't eat it unless it's chopped up in a bowl for them to nibble on.

High fibre cereal (like Weetabix, Shreddies or porridge – but avoid sugar coated cereal) + full cream milk (preferably no additional sugar although a very light sprinkling would be acceptable)
200ml fresh fruit juice
1-2 wholewheat biscuits (e.g. oatcakes, digestive)
Item fruit chopped up in a bowl
200ml full cream milk
Sandwich: 2 slices wholemeal + butter + thin slice chicken/ham or tuna in low fat natural yoghurt
Chopped carrot and cucumber in a bowl
Drink water or diluted high-juice cordial
1-2 wholewheat biscuits (e.g. oatcakes, digestive)
Item fruit chopped up in a bowl
200ml full cream milk
Evening Meal
Typical family meal e.g.: 40-50g chicken breast / lean meat / white fish
2 tbsp cooked basmati rice or 40g cooked pasta or small potato mashed/boiled/jacket
Tbsp cooked veg
Drink water or diluted high-juice cordial
Drink water or diluted high-juice cordial or milk

The plan is based around encouraging the child to eat similar foods to the rest of the family. Try to get him/her to eat the same evening meal as you, even if it's at a different time, although sitting down together as a family is also important to behaviour development. Encourage your toddler to eat at similar times of the day, to steer them away from snacking and binging, however encourage them to drink whenever they're thirsty.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.