Young children have small appetites, yet they need calories and nutrients for growth and development. By eating the right amount and type of food recommended in Canada's Food Guide, toddlers can get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Serve your little one small, nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.

View a sample menu for a 17-month-old toddler.

Eat together as a family whenever possible. During regular family meals, you can act as a positive role model for healthy eating habits like exploring new foods, establishing healthy eating patterns, and creating a positive relationship with food.

Offer your toddler a variety of nutritious foods every day. Let your toddler decide how much of it to eat. The amount of food your toddler eats may vary from day to day and depends on things like growth spurts, activity level, and emotions.

Have plenty of vegetables and fruit

Eat whole grain foods

Eat protein foods


Eat a variety of healthy foods

Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Offer plenty of vegetables and fruit, providing a variety of textures, colors, and shapes.

Whole grain foods are great sources of energy, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Choose whole grain products as often as possible.

Proteins provide energy and are important to build and repair tissues.

Choose lean meats and plant-based proteins like peas, beans, tofu or lentils

Protein foods are also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron.Plant based proteins also provide more fibre and are lower in saturated fats.

Offer 500 mL of whole milk (3.25%) daily to toddlers 1 to 2 years old.

Do not exceed more than 750 mL daily.**

If your toddler seems thirsty, water should be the beverage of choice.

Limit fruit juice and other sweetened beverages

Choose foods with
healthy fats

Do not restrict nutritious foods because of their fat content.Fat is an important source of energy for the development and growth of children.Choose foods that contain healthy fats instead of those with saturated fats.

Foods that contain healthy fats include: nuts & seeds, avocado, fatty fish.

For more information on Canada’s Food Guide and toddler nutrition, please visit:

*Health Canada recommends that to limit the amount of mercury from fish, toddlers should eat no more than 75 g per month of fresh/frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy, and escolar.Albacore (white) canned tuna should be limited to 75 g per week.

**More on dairy: If transitioning to cow's milk as child's main milk source, whole cow’s milk (3.25% M.F.) is recommended for children 1 to 2 years to help meet their energy and nutrient needs.Partly skimmed 1% or 2% milk is not recommended for children under 2.For children under 2 who are no longer breastfeeding, you can offer 500 mL of whole milk (3.25 M.F.) daily.Whole milk should be limited to 750 mL per day as higher quantities can sometimes replace other nutritious foods.For children who continue to breastfeed, you should continue a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU daily.