WIC in Vermont

Feeding Your Toddler 1-2 Years Old

Hi, it’s me, your terrific toddler!

Have you noticed? How I eat is changing. I love to learn to eat by myself! I also have a lot of ideas about food that I didn’t have as a baby. This is normal! But don’t worry about how much I eat or if I refuse foods. I am just acting like most one and two year olds.

There are lots of ways you can help make mealtimes easier for me. Meals can be a happy time for both
of us.

What to expect at mealtimes

Tips for feeding me

I love fruits

I'm learning to love vegetables

Let's use my WIC Fruit & Veggie Card

Here is what to expect from most kids my age at mealtime.

Learn what you can expect from kids who are age 1 to 2 years old, so we can all relax at mealtime. Does this sound like me?

"I eat small amounts"

  • I eat small amounts because I am growing more slowly now.
  • I may only eat one food at a meal.
  • I may like to drink more than eat--but don’t let me get away with this!
  • I may eat more at breakfast, lunch, and snacks than at supper.

"I take a long time to eat."

  • I am slow because I am learning a lot of new skills.
  • Why rush? Let’s enjoy this time together!
  • When I am just playing with my food, you may have to say, “Okay, the meal is over.”

"I say “No!” to a lot of foods."

  • It may take 10 or 15 times of seeing a food and tasting it (and maybe spitting it out) before I will eat it.
  • I won’t eat foods that take too much chewing. Cut meat fine. Cut other foods in bite size pieces.

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Tips for feeding me

  • Make sure I don’t snack too close to mealtime. Give me water before meals if I want something to drink.
  • Serve me small amounts, about 1 to 2 tablespoons of each food. I will ask for more if I want it.
  • Make sure there is one food at each meal that I like.
  • I may go on “food jags” at this age, when I want the same food over and over again. Don’t worry. I’ll grow out of it.
  • Give me choices and watch the magic! Ask me if I want to use the blue cup or the red one. Ask me if I want sweet potatoes or squash. Ask me if I want berries or banana on my cereal. I love choices!

Have you noticed?

I eat better when...

  • mealtime is pleasant and I don’t feel pressure to eat.
  • we eat together!
  • I don’t drink from a bottle or sippy cup all day long.
  • I can choose whether to use my fingers or a spoon.
  • I am not playing with toys or watching TV

I am going to learn to eat like you do! It will take me a few years. You are my role model!

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I love fruits

Hello! It’s me–your great little toddler!

Have you noticed? I love fruits and juices! Offer me fruits at least 2 times a day, and give me more fruit than juice! Aim for about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of fruit each day. This is a guide. I may not eat as much as you
offer, or I may ask for more!

Help me love fruit:

  • Peel my fruits. Cut them in small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Let me eat fruits with my fingers.
  • Serve fruits as a part of meals and snacks.
  • Let me help pick out fruits at the store.

Let’s try...

  • applesauce on my oatmeal
  • raisins in a baggie for snacks to go
  • an orange cut in small chunks
  • chopped peaches on yogurt

Monkey see, monkey do!
If you eat fruit, I will, too!

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About Juice


Have you noticed? I love juice! It’s sweet and so easy to drink! But too much juice is not healthy. It can cause my teeth to decay and it affects my appetite for other foods.

I may ask for more than ½ cup of juice a day because I love it. Help me understand that I can’t have all I want, but I can have some every day.

Give me 100% fruit juice. Avoid giving me sweet drinks like soda, punch, and other fruit flavored drinks. I get a lot more nutrition from fruit than from juice.

Get me in the habit of:

  • milk with meals
  • milk, juice or water with snacks
  • water for thirst anytime

Fresh, frozen or canned fruit... Does it matter?

No, it doesn’t matter. They are all good for me! What matters most is that I learn to eat lots of different foods over time. Stock up on canned fruits when they’re on sale. Buy fresh fruits in season for the best deals.

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I'm learning to love vegetables

Hi! It’s me, your busy toddler! Have you noticed? I am learning all the time. Teach me my colors with a rainbow of vegetables!

Offer me vegetables at least 3 times a day. Offer me about ½ cup to 1 cup of veggies a day. I don’t eat much at a time, so offer me veggies at lunch, supper, and as part of snacks. Yes, as part of snacks! At my age, a snack is like a little meal.

Let me see you eat veggies, too. You are my role model-for everything!

Colorful vegetables help keep me healthy!

  • They help me fight colds and infections.
  • They help me have regular bowel movements.
  • They help me grow and glow!

When I’m healthy:

  • I am happier.
  • I learn better.
  • I behave better.
  • I am more pleasant to be around.

Tips on feeding me veggies

  • I may eat veggies and salads better if I can eat them with my fingers.
  • I may like some veggies right out of the can or freezer bag. How easy!
  • Let me get used to veggies on my plate. Let me taste them (and maybe spit it out) while I'm learning to like them.
  • I may eat a new food better if you put it next to one of my favorite foods.
  • Offering me veggies 3 times a day is a guideline. I may not eat as much as you offer, or I may ask for more!
  • Monkey see, monkey do! If you eat veggies, I will, too!

Quick ideas for lunch!

  • vegetable soup--or add a handful of frozen mixed vegetables to any soup
  • shredded carrot salad
  • english muffin pizza
  • bell pepper strips on the side

Pick a vegetable snack!

  • fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • single frozen peas
  • raw zucchini strips
  • canned chick peas or black beans
  • leftover cooked carrots or green beans

Time for dinner! Let’s have...

  • chopped broccoli
  • sweet potato pieces
  • mashed squash
  • creamed spinach
  • cooked beets

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I want to try different colored vegetables (soft and cut up small so I don't choke). Let's use my WIC Fruit & Veggie Card to pick out a rainbow of vegetables!

Yellow - summer squash, corn, onions,

Dark green vegetables - bok choy, broccoli, collard greens,dark green leafy lettuce, kale, spinach

Orange vegetables - acorn or butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes

White - parsnips, mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips

Red - beets, red peppers, tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, ruby chard

Purple - eggplant, cabbage, radiccio, radishes

and more greens...asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green beans, green peppers, zucchini

What parents can do to help their children to eat more fruits and vegetables...

Serve fruits and vegetables every day!

Always have kid friendly fruits and vegetables within easy reach at home.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetable yourself to be a good role model.

Let children serve themselves.

Take your child to the grocery store and let them help choose fruits and vegetables.

Let children help plan which fruits and vegetables are served for meals and snacks.

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