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Sample Day of Meals for a 2-Year-Old Child

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Challenged when feeding your 2-year old? It can be easy to plan meals and make them healthy and fun! As your child continues to develop his or her feeding skills, encourage new foods and flavor combinations. Though you as a parent are in charge of deciding what to serve during meals, your child is learning to self regulate and should decide how much he or she wants to eat.

Have a challenging eater on your hands? Don’t worry! Many children need to be exposed to new foods a number of times before they will accept them. Try presenting previously rejected foods in a new shape, size, texture or temperature. For example, if your child does not like cooked peas, try serving them chilled, or mixing a preferred food with a less desired one. Don’t forget kids this age love finger foods too! Being a good role model and eating the foods you want your kids to eat can also help. It would be really hard to get children to eat vegetables during dinner if they see you snacking on an energy bar or chips.

Tips for Healthy and Fun Meals

  • Add small amounts of spices and herbs to pump up the flavor.
  • Cut foods into small pieces when needed.
  • Add a variety of colors and textures to meals to make foods visually interesting.
  • Let children experiment with how to eat; it’s ok if they get messy!
  • See a Sample Menu for a 3 Year Old Child for more meal ideas.

Sample Menu for a 2 Year Old Child

Meal Food Guidelines
Breakfast Cinnamon Apple Swirl Oatmeal: 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/2 cup applesauce, sprinkle with cinnamon and swirl together 1 ounce grains 1/2 cup fruit
Snack Strawberry Smoothie: 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, 1/4 banana, 1/4 cup milk,* and 1/4 cup yogurt* 1/2 cup fruit 1/2 cup dairy
Lunch Tuna and Avocado Salad with Pasta: 1 ounce tuna, 1/2 cup cooked whole grain elbow macaroni, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup mashed avocado 1 ounce grains 1 ounce protein foods 1/2 cup vegetables
Snack 1 string cheese* 1/2 cup dairy
Dinner Lemon Basil Chicken and Rice: 1/2 cup brown rice seasoned with basil and lemon juice, 1 ounce chicken (cut into small pieces) 1/2 cup cooked carrots 1/2 cup milk* 1 ounce grains1 ounce protein foods 1/2 cup vegetables 1/2 cup dairy

Use low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese if possible. Calcium and vitamin D fortified organic soy or non sweetened coconut (in moderation) or almond milk can be substituted. Collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, mustard greens and fortified tofu.

Recommendations from ChooseMyPlate.gov for a 2 year old requiring 1000 calories: Grains: 3 ounces, Vegetables: 1 cup, Fruit: 1 cup, Dairy: 2 cups, Protein Foods: 2 ounces



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About the Author

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a masters in nutrition education. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. where she is “saving the world, one healthy food at a time.” Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the founder’s page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her on-line courses and subscribe to her blog, Melissa’s Healthy Living, for nutrition updates.


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