Canada’s Food Guide
Recommendations for toddlers
INITIAL PORTION EXAMPLES FOR EACH FOOD GROUP
Healthy food icon
Offer your toddler a variety of healthy foods as outlined in Canada’s Food Guide. Let your toddler decide how much of it to eat and trust their ability to follow their hunger and fullness cues. The amount of food your toddler eats may vary from day to day and depends on things like growth spurts, activity level and emotions.
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Eat together as a family whenever possible. During regular family meals, you can act as a positive role model for healthy eating habits like exploring new foods, establishing healthy eating patterns and creating a positive relationship with food.
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Younger toddlers 1-2 years of age tend to eat small portions. Most toddlers will have one quarter to one half of an adult portion. Serve small healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, aiming for 3 meals and 2-3 nutritious snacks per day.
INITIAL PORTION EXAMPLE
Cooked vegetables
30-45 mL
Soft Fruit
45-75 mL
Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Whole grain foods are great sources of energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Choose whole grain products as often as possible
INITIAL PORTION EXAMPLE
PIECE OF TOAST
½ PIECE
CEREAL (HOT OR COLD)
60-125 mL
PASTA OR RICE
¼ CUP
Proteins provide energy and are important to build and repair tissues. Protein foods are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals like iron, and plant based proteins are richer in fibre and lower in saturated fats
Eat protein foods
INITIAL PORTION EXAMPLE
YOGURT
30 mL
COOKED MEATS OR MEAT ALTERNATIVES
30 - 45 mL
EGG
½ EGG
Fish
At least 2 servings/week*
MILK
See below guidelines
* Health Canada recommends that to limit the amount of mercury from fish, toddlers should eat no more than 75 g per month of fresh/frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and escolar. Albacore (white) canned tuna should be limited to 75 g per week.
Choose lean meats and plant based proteins such as peas, beans, tofu or lentils.
Whole cow’s milk (3.25% M.F.) is recommended daily for children until 2 years old to help meet their energy and nutrient needs. Provide partly skimmed 1% or 2% milk only to children 2 years and older
Beverages
INITIAL PORTION EXAMPLE
WATER
WHOLE MILK (3.25%)
Provide 500 mL of whole milk daily for toddlers until 2 years old
If your toddler seems thirsty, water should be the beverage of choice. Limit fruit juice and other sweetened beverages
Choose foods that contain healthy fats instead of those with saturated fats.
Choose foods with healthy fats
NUTS & SEEDS, AVOCADO, FATTY FISH, VEGETABLE OILS, SOFT MARGARINE.
Do not restrict nutritious foods because of their fat content, fat is an important source of energy for development and growth of children.
Have plenty of vegetables and fruit
Provide a variety of textures, colours and shapes.
TIP: Look to the plate icon for guidance on how to distribute each food group, but remember, trust your toddler to follow their hunger cues and decide how much to eat!
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