2 year / 24 month old feeding schedule: Amounts and food chart
At two years old, you know your toddler has opinions about everything including what shows up on their plate at mealtime. By now, they’ve likely gained a lot of feeding skills and can enjoy most family foods. Although picky eating at 24 months is totally normal (and common!) too. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about navigating feeding with a 2 year old.
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2 year old toddler sample feeding schedule
Most 2 year old toddlers are eating about five times a day, consisting of three meals and two snacks. They are generally able to self-feed, sometimes with utensils, and can drink from cups. Chewing has improved due to likely having a full or almost full set of teeth. 24 month olds typically can eat what is on the family table, even if modifications need to be made to reduce choking risks.
At this age, your child’s nutritional needs should be met through solid foods. If they are drinking more than 24 ounces of milk a day, chances are the liquid calories are displacing important nutrients in their diet and intake should be reduced. The AAP  recommends children ages 2 to 5 years drink 16 – 24 ounces of low-fat or skim milk per day.
The schedule below can help guide your little one’s feeding for the day. Every family is different, so feel free to modify it to fit your needs.
|9:30/10:00 AM||Morning snack|
|3:00/3:30 PM||Afternoon snack|
How much to feed a 2 year old: Food chart
Toddlers at 24 months will likely start to show their likes and dislikes for certain foods. This type of picky eating behavior is normal and will usually lessen over time. Offer a variety of foods and serve new foods alongside already accepted foods. Typically, kids at this age need to eat roughly every three hours or so.
2 year old feeding chart
|Breakfast:||French toast strips, strawberries|
|Mid-morning snack:||Granola bar|
|Lunch:||Deli meat sandwich, sliced cucumbers, pretzels|
|Mid-afternoon snack:||Berries, whole milk yogurt|
|Dinner:||Beans, rice, avocado, roasted squash|
Tips for feeding your 2 year / 24 month old toddler
Tip #1: Continue to focus on safety
Although your 2 year old has mastered a lot when it comes to feeding, safety still needs to be a top priority. Continue to serve meals and snacks while they are sitting down at the table, in a highchair or booster seat. Remove distractions such as screens and toys from the eating area and modify high-risk choking foods.
Tip #2: Aim for a variety of foods
Picky, or selective, eating is a common challenge at this age. While it is completely normal, it can be frustrating for parents. To lessen its impact, continue offering a variety of foods even if you don’t think your child will eat them if you are able to do so. You can also try slightly changing their favorite foods to increase acceptance of the unfamiliar. For example, cut their sandwich a different way or serve it on a different type of bread.
Tip #3: Watch out for constipation
Many toddlers struggle with constipation especially as they start potty training. Help ease constipation by ensuring your child gets adequate fiber and water in their diet. This can be accomplished by serving a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as offering water throughout the day.
Tip #4: Nurture hunger and fullness cues
It can be hard to sit on the sidelines during mealtime when it comes to a 24 month old. They are fiercely asserting their independence and may be eating in a way that is different than you’d expect. While you want the best for them, help them nurture their own hunger and fullness cues rather than try to pressure them into eating a certain amount. This will set them up for positive eating experiences in the future.
Tip #5: Understanding what’s normal for picky eating
While picky eating is a normal part of development for many toddlers, sometimes it becomes extreme. If your little one has a short list of accepted foods, becomes very upset when certain foods are on their plate or their eating habits interfere with daily life, it’s time to seek outside help. Contact your pediatrician or pediatric feeding specialist to come up with a plan.
Night feedings for 2 year olds
Night feedings are usually not needed or recommended at 24 months. You can prevent nighttime hunger by offering enough calories and eating opportunities throughout the day. Additionally, working to build good sleep habits can help children make it through the night without needing to eat anything.
Feeding a 2 year old can be full of ups and downs, but it is also an exciting time. They are able to function more independently by self-feeding and can better indicate when they are hungry and full. Keep offering a variety of foods and know that picky eating behaviors fade over time.
2 year / 24 month olds feeding schedule FAQ
Q: How often should a 2 year old eat?
2 year olds should eat roughly every two to three hours. Offering food at set intervals throughout the day helps them regulate their hunger. It also helps ensure they eat enough throughout the day.
Q: How long between feeds can a 2 year old go?
A 24 month old can likely go about three to four hours between eating, but sometimes need to eat more frequently than that. They may go longer between meals if they are sleeping. For example, we expect most toddlers to go 10 - 12 hours overnight without eating. Toddlers’ appetites vary a bit, so the timing may not be the same every day.
Q: Can you drop night feeds at 2 years old?
Yes, it is appropriate to drop night feeds before 2 years old. Toddlers at this age should be able to eat enough calories during the day to sustain them through the night. If your child wakes up hungry at night, or early in the morning, consider adding a bedtime snack.
Q: Why is my 2 year old eating less than usual?
Your toddler’s appetite will differ from day to day and at times, they may eat less than usual. This is common and completely normal. If they are eating less than usual it may also mean they are not feeling well, are constipated, or are having teething discomfort.
Q: Is 30 oz of milk too much for a 2 year old?
The recommended amount of nonfat (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk for a 2 year old is no more than 24 ounces a day. Any more than this may fill your toddler up and displace solid foods (and other important nutrients) in the diet.
Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Recommended Drinks for Children Age 5 & Younger. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/recommended-drinks-for-young-children-ages-0-5.aspx