Because little ones are often picky eaters, many mothers think their toddlers aren’t eating enough. However, you should take a good look at the general guidelines for a toddler’s diet before jumping to that conclusion. In addition to 16-24 ounces of whole milk, according to Vincent Iannelli, M.D., About.com Guide to Pediatrics, your toddler should be eating “on average, 6 servings of grains, 2-3 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruits, and 2 servings of ‘protein’ foods, like meat, fish, chicken, or legumes (beans, peas, lentils).”
However, the key is that a serving size for a toddler is just 1/4 of an adult serving size. So a serving of meat is only one ounce. For bread, it’s just a 1/4 of a slice, and vegetables — a couple tablespoons. Maybe their little bodies don’t need as much food as you thought.
If you find your child really isn’t eating enough, first make sure they aren’t drinking too much. Many small children fill up on juice and milk, and aren’t hungry at mealtime. Our pediatrician says that toddlers shouldn’t have more than a couple ounces of juice a day, if at all. If your kids love juice, mix an ounce of juice with cold water. They might not like it at first, but they’ll soon get in the habit of drinking more water and less juice. If you cut back on juice and other fillers, and your toddler still isn’t eating enough, talk to your pediatrician and get to the root of the problem — and find a solution. Not eating can be due to a physical ailment or a psychological/emotional issue.