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Calorie Requirement of a Toddler

I am yet to come across a mother who hasn’t once complained about her child not eating. From the moment we give birth to a child, feeding them becomes our biggest challenge and accomplishment. Pressure from family doesn’t help either. We are constantly asked why our child is thin and what s/he eats. Having a fussy eater and trying to make sure she ate healthy was a whole new level of challenge. Even though I tried to brush the thought aside thinking she would eat when she is hungry, I had already started obsessing over her meal plans.

For my mental peace, I needed to know if she was meeting the minimum calorie requirement. For the benefit of other mothers, I have listed the calorie requirement of toddlers by two age groups (1 year and 2-3 years old) and what you could feed them through the day. It might help you understand how you can tune their meals to help them eat better.

The calories requirement is as per The American Heart Association and the calorie requirement increases based on the physical activity of the child.

Age (Years) Sedentary Moderately Active
1 year 900 kcal/day 900-1100 kcal/day 1100-1300 kcal/day
2-3 years 1000 kcal/day 1,000-1,200 kcal/day 1,200-1,400 kcal/day

Reference:  http://www.heart.org/

Counting plain calories are not enough and you have to make sure your child gets a balanced meal. The meal plan for the day has to include a good mix of Fat, Protein, Carbohydrate and Fibre etc. If you are looking to create a food chart for your baby based on their preference, the below dietary requirements as per the same paper might come handy:

1 year 2-3 years
Calories 900-1300 Kcal/day 1000-1400 kcal/day
Fat 30-40% 30-35%
Milk/ Dairy 2 Cups (Reduced Fat milk) 2 Cups (Skimmed Milk)
Lean Meat and Beans 1.5 ounces 2 ounces
Fruits 1 cup 1 cup
Vegetables 3/4 cup 1 cup
Grains 2 ounces 3 ounces

I am also listing below a basic meal plan that my daughter has on most days. The total calories fall a little short of 1000 as per this but her taste changes so frequently that I need to constantly adapt the meals to her choice.

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Oats with Milk 175
Mid Day Banana 80
Lunch Rice, dal and veg curry 250
Evening Snacks Scrambled Egg with cheese 175
Dinner Stuffed Paratha 200
Before Bed 1 Cup Milk 90

Ofcourse this is not by a nutritionist and it has its flaws. I am not qualified to refer a meal plan to anyone so please use your discretion. I try my best to not force her into eating and let her enjoy her food. I also make sure I stop feeding when she tells me she doesn’t want to eat anymore though I do sometimes to try my luck and see if she would change her mind. I hope this helps you guys plan your child’s meal better.



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