Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

How much food at 2 to 3 years?

2-minute read

Download this guide as a PDF

View text version of infographic

Daily needs


The best drink you can give your child is water. Milk is also good and can help with their daily dairy requirements. Cereal with milk is a great start to the day for growing bodies, but be careful not to buy a cereal that is high in sugar. You can use the Healthy Star Rating system to help you choose healthy and nutritious food. The more stars, the better for you and your family.


Rice is a great option for lunch or dinner. It can be eaten hot or cold and add variety by serving with different veggies, proteins and sauces.


Tofu is a good alternative source of protein if you don't always want to serve meat. You can swap the pasta for rice or noodles and choose whichever veggies you prefer.


The best drink you can give your child is water. Milk is also good and can help with their daily dairy requirements.

How many serves a day?

  • Fruit — 1 serve
  • Vegetables — 2½ serves
  • Grains — 4 serves
  • Protein — 1 serve
  • Dairy — 1½ serves

What is a serve?

The size of a serve will depend on the type of food. Here are some examples:

  • Fruit — 1 cup diced fruit or 1 medium apple or banana
  • Vegetables — 1/2 cup cooked veggies or 1 cup salad greens
  • Grains — 1/2 cup cooked rice or 1 slice bread
  • Protein — 80g cooked chicken or 2 eggs
  • Dairy — 1 cup milk or 2 slices cheese

Fussy eaters

When your toddler turns 2, they should be eating the same food as the rest of the family. However, it’s very common for kids to go through stages of refusing food or always wanting the same thing.

  • DO give your kids healthy options
  • DO include them in planning the family meals
  • DON’T fill them up with snacks throughout the day
  • DON’T bribe kids in to eating food

Want more like this?

See more guides and infographics from Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2023

Back To Top

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.