5 Food Groups for Toddlers

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013[1] were designed to provide specific recommendations for each child’s age group and gender, describing the required daily intake of each food group to achieve a balanced diet. Your child may have slightly different needs depending on their age, their energy and activity levels. Examples of this might be, whether they are crawling or walking and what phase of growth and development they are in. The guidelines, as the name suggests, are simply a guide to the serving sizes needed at each stage of life.

There are 5 core food groups.  These are the Daily intake recommendations for of each of the food groups for Toddlers who are aged 1-2 years and 2-3 years [2].

Food Group Girls & Boys
Girls & Boys
Vegetables and Legumes 2-3 serves 2.5 serves
Fruits 0.5 serves 1 serve
Grains and Cereals 4 serves 4 serves
Lean meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs,
Nuts, Seeds, Legumes, Beans
1 serve 1 serve
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese and
1-1.5 serves 1.5 serves
Allowances for extra serves
from any group
0 0-1 serve

So how much is a “serve”?

A standard serve of vegetables is about 75g (100-350kJ).  This is equal to:

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin), OR
  • ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans, peas or lentils, OR
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables, OR
  • ½ cup sweet corn, ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava) OR
  • 1 medium tomato

A standard serve of fruit is about 150g (350kJ).  This is equal to:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear, OR
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums, OR
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar).
  • As an occasional alternative, 125ml (½ cup) fruit juice (with no added sugar), OR
  • 30g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves OR 1½ tablespoons of sultanas).

A standard serve of grains and cereals is (500kJ).  This can be made up of:

  • 1 slice (40g) bread OR
  • ½ medium (40g) roll or flat bread, OR
  • ½ cup (75–120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa, OR
  • ½ cup (120g) cooked porridge, OR
  • ²/³ cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes, OR
  • ¼ cup (30g) muesli, OR
  • 3 x crispbreads, OR
  • 1 (60g) crumpet, OR
  • 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone.

A standard serve of protein is (500-600kJ). This can be made up of:

  • 65g cooked lean meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90–100g raw), OR
  • 80g cooked lean poultry such as chicken or turkey (100g raw), OR
  • 100g cooked fish fillet (about 115g raw weight) OR
  • one small can of fish, OR
  • 2 large (120g) eggs, OR
  • 1 cup (150g) cooked or canned legumes/beans such as lentils, chick peas or split peas (preferably with no added salt), OR
  • 170g tofu, OR
  • 30g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter, tahini or other nut and seed paste (no added salt).

A standard serve of dairy is (500-600kJ). This can be made up of:

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk, OR ½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk, OR
  • 2 slices (40g) or 4x (3x2cm) cube (40g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar, OR ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese, OR
  • ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt, OR
  • 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml. 

Beta A2 Nutritional Toddler Milk is an excellent source of dairy for your little one as it not only provides the necessary dairy intake, but also added vitamins and minerals to support their natural growth and development. 250ml or 1 cup of Beta A2 Toddler Milk will provide 1 serve in your little one’s diet.

[1] Australian Dietary Guidelines – Providing the scientific evidence for Healthier Australian Diets, 2013, Eat for Health, Australian Gov. Health Dept.

[2] Serve Sizes, Eat for Health, Australian Gov. Health Dept

Special Thanks to Dietitian Kate DiPrima for her contributions to this article.

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