Toddlers have decreased appetites

Toddlers have decreased appetites

Portion size and expectations should decrease

Lucille Beseler, RDN

Is co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition and a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing over 100,000 Nutrition professionals, while also active as a clinical dietitian in South Florida.

Article in collaboration with: Melanie Bazarte, PhD

Many parents worry that their toddlers are not getting enough to eat, but it is normal for toddlers to have decreased appetites beginning around the first birthday. After 12 months of rapidly putting on inches and pounds, toddlers have slower physical development and their calorie requirements decrease. 

Erratic eating is quite normal now. No one food is essential to good health; all healthy foods provide some nutrients. 

Toddlers have decreased appetites

Kids will not voluntarily starve themselves. Your job is to offer your child the most nutritious foods; eating is your child's responsibility. 

  • Serve one tablespoon of cooked food for each year of a child's age
  • Think of a toddler's stomach as being the size of his/her fist, and put just that amount of food on his plate.
  • Three square meals a day aren't necessary and an unrealistic goal.

Adapted from Nurturing with Nutrition by Dr. Melanie Bezarte and Lucille Beseler, RDN

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