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

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

Healthy menu plans for kids can be a breeze with a little meal prep! Check out how simple and easy a sample day of meals for a 2-year-old can be!

Challenged when feeding your 2-year old? It can be easy to plan meals and make them healthy and fun once you have a few tools under your belt! 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.

How to Deal With a Picky Eater

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!
  • Keep corn and other fruits or veggies in the freezer to save time.
  • Use fresh or fresh, frozen, or canned fruit in its own juices for a burst of flavor.
  • Buy bulk proteins such as chicken or turkey and store some in the freezer.
  • See a Sample Menu for a 3 Year Old Child for more meal ideas.

Sample Menu for a 2-Year-Old Child

Meal Food

Servings from Food Groups

Breakfast

Cinnamon Apple Swirl Oatmeal:

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • sprinkle with cinnamon and swirl together
  • 1 ounce grains
  • ½ cup fruit

Snack

Strawberry Smoothie:

  • ¼ cup sliced strawberries
  • ¼ banana
  • ¼ cup milk*
  • ¼ cup yogurt*
  • ½ cup fruit
  • ½ cup dairy

Lunch

Tuna and Avocado Salad with Pasta:

  • 1 ounce tuna
  • ½ cup cooked whole grain elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup mashed avocado
  • 1 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ½ cup vegetables

Snack

  • 1 string cheese*
  • ½ cup dairy

Dinner

Lemon Basil Chicken and Rice:

  • ½ cup brown rice seasoned with basil and lemon juice
  • 1 ounce chicken (cut into small pieces)
  • ½ cup cooked carrots
  • ½ cup milk*
  • 1 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ½ cup vegetables
  • ½ cup dairy

Use low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese if possible. Calcium and vitamin D fortified organic soy milk, almond milk, or unsweetened coconut (in moderation) as substitutions. Collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, mustard greens, and fortified tofu are also good plant-based options!

Food Group Recommendations for Meals for a 2-Year-Old

ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends the following servings 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 Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.
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