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How to Feed a Toddler

Your two-year-old is beyond pureed peas and bits of cereal. Now what? They can eat just about anything you do, as long as you prepare it the right way.


  • : Never serve the following to a child under three: raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, popcorn, hard candy, raisins or other dried fruits, hot dogs, chewing gum, marshmallows, or chunky peanut butter. Double-check this list with your pediatrician.
  • Step 1: Prepare foods Your no. 1 concern when feeding a toddler is safety. Steam, cook, or microwave vegetables until they're soft, then cut them into bite-sized pieces, or dice or shred them. Cut round foods, like grapes, cherry tomatoes, and pitted olives or cherries, into halves or quarters.
  • Step 2: Keep servings small Keep serving sizes small, and don't push your child to clean their plate.
  • TIP: Good portion sizes include:½ slice of bread1/4 c. of fruit, or one quarter of a whole piece of fruit½ c. of milk or yogurtDie-size cheese cube1 ½ oz. of meat, poultry, or fish
  • Step 3: Let them do it The more your toddler can do for themselves, the more cooperative they'll be. Serve them foods they can easily scoop up with a spoon, like thick applesauce and mac-and-cheese. Scatter wheel- or shell-shaped cooked pasta on a plastic plate for them to pick up with a blunt fork.
  • TIP: A bowl with high sides and a weighted bottom is easier for a child to scoop food from, and will stay put while they're trying.
  • Step 4: Deal with pickiness If your child is picky, one way to get a toddler to eat just about anything is to provide them with something to dunk it in. Serve pieces of fruit with yogurt; steamed veggies with hummus; wheat crackers with salsa.
  • Step 5: Work on presentation Toddlers also appreciate clever presentation: Arrange pieces of fruit or vegetables on a plate to resemble flowers, animals, or a smiling face.
  • Step 6: Let them satisfy their curiosity Don't hesitate to let your child try anything that you're eating, as long as it's safe. There is no rule that says kids only like chicken fingers and fries: You're much better off with one who'll chow down on a variety of foods.
  • FACT: Did you know? A study found that French fries are the most common "vegetable" eaten by toddlers.

You Will Need

  • A toddler-size spoon
  • A plastic plate
  • Toddler-size blunt fork
  • Bowl with high sides and a weighted bottom (optional)

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