How much should my child be eating?
Most parents know that they should aim to feed their children a variety of nutritious foods. However, a common question amongst parents is always how much to feed them.
Infants aged 7-12 months
According to the infant feeding guidelines, it is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age. Where breastfeeding is not possible, an infant should be provided with formula until 6 months.
First foods should be introduced from approximately 6 months onwards. The most important foods to begin with are those that are rich in iron, e.g. iron-fortified cereals or iron rich foods that have been pureed to an appropriate texture, such as meat. The remaining foods from the five food groups take lesser priority but are still very important to be introduced.
The table below shows the type and quantity of food your infant should be eating from 7 – 12 months of age. Exact requirements may vary between each individual child but is a useful guide to healthy eating.
Toddlers 1 – 2 years of age
The dietary requirements of your child may vary depending on things like activity level. However, the table below acts as a good guide for what a toddler aged between 1 and 2 years should be consuming. This will ensure they are receiving a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups.
Appropriate growth and development for age can dictate whether your child is receiving suitable food intake. It can indicate under nutrition or conversely, an excess in oral intake.
From the age of one, children should be able to eat the same foods as the rest of the family – provided they are healthy options. The exceptions are those foods that present a choking/ inhalation hazard, for example; whole nuts, seeds, chunks of apple, raw celery/ carrot sticks. The listed foods should be avoided until 3 years of age. Nut pastes can be offered to children from 6 months of age.
What constitutes a serve?
The table below outlines what quantity of food equals a ‘serve’.
How do you know your child is receiving enough?
As previously mentioned, a good way to tell if your child is getting an appropriate amount of food is to keep an eye on their weight/height. Infant growth charts are good for assessing this information. Another indicator can be energy levels. If your child appears less active and happy than they used to be, perhaps they aren’t receiving enough of what they need.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have any questions about childhood nutrition or any related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Eat For Health: Educator Guide. Australian Government. 2013
- Munch and Move. Summary of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines Relevant to Early Childhood and Care Service. NSW Government. 2013.