Toddler Food Pyramid

Healthy eating is about having a varied, balanced diet and enjoying lots of different foods. The food pyramid will help you choose a healthy and varied diet for your child.

Children can decide how much food they need, so don’t make them eat until their plates are empty.

The Toddler Food Pyramid:

Sparingly; Others

2: Meat, Fish and Alternatives.

3: Milk, Cheese, and Yoghurt.

2-4: Fruit and Vegetables.

4: Cereals, Bread and Potatoes.

Food groups

The following are suggested servings from each of the Food Pyramid shelves. Offer the recommended serving from each Food Pyramid shelf every day.





Bread, cereals and potatoes — Provide energy to help work and play


Recommended servings per day:

1-3 years: 4 servings

3-5 years: 4-6+ servings

1 Serving = any of the following

  • 1 slice of bread or a small bread roll
  • 1 small bowl of cereal (eg 30g variety size pack)
  • 2 cream crackers
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3 dessert spoons of boiled rice or pasta

Active children may need more servings from this food group to give them enough energy.

Remember — children’s appetites can vary, offer younger children smaller portion sizes more often.


Fruit & vegetables — Provide vitamins and minerals, essential for good health


Recommended servings per day:

1-3 years: 2-4 servings

3-4 years: 4 or more servings

5 years and over: 5 servings

1 Serving = any of the following

  • 1 medium sized fresh fruit for example
  • Small glass of unsweetened pure fruit juice — dilute with plenty of water
  • Small bowl of tinned fruit in natural juice, small bowl of chopped fruit, fresh fruit salad
  • 3 dessert-spoons of stewed fruit
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetables or 3 dessert-spoons of salad
  • Bowl of home-made vegetable soup


Milk, cheese and yoghurt — Provide calcium for healthy bones and teeth


Recommended servings per day:

1-3 years: 3 servings

3-5 years: 3 servings

1 Serving = any of the following

  • 1 glass of full fat milk (1/3 pint of milk)
  • 1 carton of yoghurt
  • Matchbox sized piece of cheese (1oz)
  • 2 cheese slices
  • Small bowl of milk pudding
  • 2 fromage frais

Low fat milk is not suitable as the main drink for children under 2 years of age. You can gradually introduce it after 2 years of age provided your child is a good eater and has a varied diet. Skimmed milk is not suitable for children under 5 years.


Meat, fish and alternatives — Provide protein for growth and development


Recommended servings per day:

1-3 years: 2 small servings

3-5 years: 2 servings

1 Serving = any of the following

  • Small pork or lamb chop
  • 2 slices roast or boiled meat
  • 2 slices of chicken or turkey
  • Medium fillet of fish
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of baked beans, peas, lentils


Top Shelf of the Food Pyramid


Foods such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, fizzy drinks and savoury snacks, like crisps, are on the top shelf of the Food Pyramid.

These foods should not be a part of your child’s daily diet. Filling up on foods from this shelf spoils your child’s appetite for more nutritious food.

Sugary food and drinks are not good for your child’s teeth.


Suitable snacks:


Fresh fruit such as pears, satsumas, bananas, kiwi fruit

Cheese cubes, slices

Crackers or rice cakes and cheese

Bread- toast, rolls, baps, pitta bread

Fruit brack, malt loaf, banana bread

Scones- plain, fruit or wholemeal

Small sandwiches


Fromage frais

Homemade milkshake using yoghurt and fruit

Unsweetened breakfast cereal with milk (don’t add sugar)

Homemade soup

Vegetable slices, sticks or wedges


Don’t give whole nuts and popcorn until your child is at least 5 years old — because of the danger of choking.

First 1000 Days Team

Our expert team of dietitians and nutritionists have created lots of articles, tips, advice and recipes all about the importance of good nutrition to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start in life.

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