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How much food does a toddler need?

Endocrinologist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

It's ironic: Because of a slowdown in growth, toddlers, who are far more active than infants, have lower calorie needs, pound for pound. That doesn't diminish the importance of good nutrition, but it does present some challenges.

Toddlers need between 1,000 and 1,400 calories a day, depending on their age, size, and physical activity level (most are considered active). The amount of food a toddler requires from each of the food groups is based on daily calorie needs.

In addition to choices from each of the food groups, parents need to limit their toddlers' intake of foods with saturated fats and trans fats. Also, include healthy oils in a toddler's diet, such as olive oil and other unsaturated fats.