How Much Should My Daughter Be Eating? and Other Food Questions.....

Updated on May 06, 2010
R.D. asks from Haysville, KS
5 answers

My daughter is 13 months old tomorrow and I had a few questions on what she should be eating....
She is currently in daycare (until the end of the month, when I am done teaching and can be home with her, yay!) A big issue I have that I am bringing up tomorrow is they do not write down what she had to eat or how much she has to eat during the day. She eats both breakfast and lunch there, and they do not give them any snacks from what I am understanding.
It just seems like she eats SO MUCH at dinner! For example, tonight she had two hot dogs (of course take into account missed bites, throwing, etc), two cups of mandarin oranges (the little del monte indiviual packs) and two pieces of string cheese. This just seems like a LOT of food to me. I am not sure how tall she is (but I think she has always been on the short side) but at the last checkup we had for an ear infection she weighed 22 pounds (about two weeks ago). Her ped. doesn't do a 12 month checkup; the next one is at 14 months. She has never been concerned about her weight. I have a VERY active little girl and she is chubby but looks just like any of the other little ones her age to me. My husband is concerned with her weight and I admit sometimes I wonder as well. I am thin, and have been my whole entire life. My husband was chubby for the first five or six years and then normal but his brother was pretty chubby until high school. I feel like she is just fine the way she is (some kids are just going to be chubby no matter how active they are) but what are your thoughts? I was never really around little kiddos and she is of course my first so I just don't know if she is eating way too much at home or if this is normal. Now, I know hot dogs aren't the best, that's just what we happened to have tonight as mom and dad both had late meetings and it was a little past time for her to eat :)
So along with that....a few more questions about food. When I am home with her I will be buying fresh fruit, veggies, etWhac but for the time being I do the individual containers. What is the best kind of fruit for her? This, or the cans? What brand is best? (In terms of being healthy) What should a typical day of meals look like for her? Another question.....I know at daycare she has milk in the morning and for lunch but then they offer water after morning and afternoon "recess". At home she drinks a glass of milk with her dinner and usually finishes it before bed. Is she getting enough milk? Does she need more water? What should she be getting? I haven't really given her any juice, does she need it or is it ok to leave out? Any good suggestions on books for meals, and all of my questions? I am really sorry if this is starting to not make sense, while I am on all my questions: how in the world do you get the lines to quit moving up when you are typing your question? I am not able to see what I am writing, so I apolgize if this doesn't make much sense :) TIA for all of your help!

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answers from Portland on

Hi R.-

I was a Nanny for many years, and healthy eating was always important. Here are a few answers.

First, watch your child's weight, if she's gaining, she's eating enough. If she starts losing weight, it's time to examine things. As for your daughter's "cubbyness" do not worry about fat/thin children until 3-4. Young children need fat for brain development. Your brain FEEDS on fat, that is why you are to use whole milk from 1-2-2.5 and 2% through preschool. Fat for babies is good. When she is older, if her height & weight do not match well, it may be time to cut down on the fat and increase the park time, but nothing drastic.

Next day care. I always recommend parent so suprise visits at different points of the day to see what your child's day looks like. Yes on the first visit, there was fruit for snack and water colors for art, but is that a normal day or a special event? I had a friend who worked for a day care, and even though they had a meal plan monthly, the day care officials bought Happy Meals 5 days a week instead, not good. So stop by, what's for lunch, is she eating, look & observe.

Lastly meals, at 13 months she can have just about all that you have, (NO PEANUT BUTTER!!!). Be careful of typical allergic foods, (ie seafood & nuts). Kids eat in weird patterns. One day their so hungry, it's like the never ate EVER, then the next day they won't touch anything. Kids have a great way of eating only when they are hungry, and stop when they are not, I wish I did.

Focus on healthy foods. The things that are important should be presented first, protein & fruits/veggies. After those are gone, present carbs, (breads, french fries etc). If you give both at once, it's Bye Bye fries, and then I'm full. If you give foods in segments, you can better control what she eats.

I don't have any books to recommend, but when I was a Nanny making meals, I focused on the food pryamid.

I also used this rule, mostly for older kids choosing their own snacks, they could eat 1 of what ever, muffins, cookies etc, but they had to eat 1 of something that grew on a tree or in the ground, (ie fresh veggies & fruits). For the veggies that are tough, carrots, I would boil them in stick shape, rinse in cold water then give as a semi mushy veggie. Kids loved it!

Lastly, drinks. Milk at meals is great then I believe in water through the day. I think it's important to teach kids to drink water at an early age, it helps teach them to drink water as they get older. If kids think that all drinks should be flavored (milk, juice etc), they will never get the taste for water. I used juice as a treat. Juice has a lot of sugar and real fruit is better. It's full of fiber and juice is not.

Good Luck!

R. Magby

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I have a chart that was sent to me by parents magazine that was very helpful.

average daily calories needed
0-6 months 650 calories
6 months-1 year 850 calories
1-3 years 1300 calories
4-6 years 1800 calories
7-10 years 2000 calories
11-14 years girls 2200 calories
11-14 years boys 2500 calories
(these older ones are if they are pretty active and not sitting around like couch potatoes)

for toddler age these are the recommended serving sizes

Breads 1/4-1/2 slice
Rice, pasta, cereal 1/4 cup
cooked or raw veggies/fruit 2 tablespoons
canned fruit 1/4 cup
milk and yogurt 1/2 cup
cheese 1 ounce
meat, poultry, fish 1 oz
eggs 1/2 egg but not recommended for small children due to allergies
beans 2 tablespoons

recommended Daily servings
milk, yogurt, cheese 2-3 servings
fruits and veggies 3-5 servings of veggies 2-4 servings of fruit
meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, 2-3 servings
bread, cereal, rice, pasta 6-11 servings (seem like a lot? remember 1 slice of bread is 2 servings for this age, a few crackers so they can add up quick)

2 sippy cups of milk is plenty a day so you do need to give some water and they don't recommend more than 8 ounces of juice a day but fresh fruits are much better.

there are probably some good websites that can explain things more clear and there is more updated info available.

Your pediatrician probably has a eating plan if you ask for one, I know I used to get info like that when the kids were little at their appointments.

fruits that are easy to chew like bananas and cooked apples, applesauce, are good. canned fruits have more calories because of all the stuff added to preserve them but at this age it is hard to give them many fresh fruits because they are too hard to chew so canned is easier and the fruit coctail probably works well as they are cut up in smaller pieces.

I used to cook a few small baby carrots in the microwave on a small plate with a little water so the carrot doesn't dry out. Cook them until they are soft and they made a great veggie item for them to eat themselves. Have to make sure it is totally soft and not crunchy at all.

We buy the frozen veggies and and the kids ate the peas and corn as they were soft enough after they were steamed. They don't like canned veggies, they are too mushy and salty and never did like canned veggies and frozen are more healthy and just as cheap too as you can get several meals out of one family size bag.

hotdogs aren't recommended until age 4.



answers from Kansas City on

It could just be a growth spurt too. My kids eat like crazy when they're about to grow. If the doctor hasn't been concerned in the past and she's active, I really wouldn't worry. That does sound like a big dinner, but she probably doesnt eat that much every night...and if she does she probably isn't eating a ton during the day. I would begin by asking the day care to fill out a sheet about what she eats each day, I don't think it's too much to ask. You may have to print something up yourself and hand it to them each day, but explain your concerns and I can't see why it would be a problem.

Secondly, when she's home consider buying more fresh fruits and veggies than anything else. Canned stuff really isn't so great. If it's packed in water, then that's okay, but fresh is usually best. Dried fruits are also a good option just make sure they don't have ADDED sugar in them. Look at teh ingredient list it should just list the fruit and maybe something to preserve it. Freeze dried fruits are a little harder to find but they are really awesome! Try to look for meats with no nitrates in them, they're better for you, they even make hotdogs like that, Oscar Mayer just came out with ones that are really good, they even have turkey hot dogs.

She should drink about 24 oz of milk/day. If she isn't in to juice, don't force it. She doesn't need it. Fresh fruits and veggies are much much better! I really don't think you even need a book for meals, just give her freshest stuff and she'll be good. Of course the ocassional fruit snack and stuff like that is fine, but yogurt, cheese, lunch meats, breads, crackers, rice (even rice cakes), fresh fruits and veggies and she's set. You can make little meals like mac and cheese, quesadillas, things like that too. My daughter loved cream cheese on crackers at that age (still does!). Don't make it too hard. Just go with it and she'll soemtimes eat a lot and other times she'll barely eat. It's just how toddlers roll!



answers from Springfield on

Hi, My name is A.. I have 3 healthy children of my own. 8 almost 5 and 8 months. I would say at 13 months. there is not to little or two much if she is hungry let her eat. I did buy those gerber LIL graduates for my kids when they were toddlers and they loved them. there were little dinner packs came with like a main dish, veggie and fruit. Came with big enough pieces so great for learning to self feed =) but as far as the daycare goes have you asked them to tell you what she eats. I know my daycare gives me a weekly menu of what mine kids have everyday. as far as my baby they feed her my the schedule i gave them since she is an infant. but dinners at home just give her, her own little plate of whatever your haveing in the portion size you think is suitable then I would wait a little whille to see if it was satisfying before putting more on her plate. If she starts playing I'd say she's done! when a child is hungry they



answers from New York on

How tall is your daughter? 22 lbs is far from chubby for a 13 month old unless she is SUPER short maybe? My son is 6 months and 22 lbs. I am always assured by my pedi. to feed him when he is hungry and until he is full. My son doesn't eat until he throws up so I know the amount of food he is eating is what he needs. Also how is she eating on the weekends when she is not in daycare? That should give you some sort of clue whether they're feeding her enough during the day. You can also ask the pedi. what her weight percentile is so you can assure your husband she is within normal range since he is concerned.

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