Sample meal plans for 1 to 4 year olds

These are some examples of meal plans for 1 to 4 year olds. The meal plans have a mix of food groups with the portion sizes for each age.

Generally, 1 to 4 year olds will have 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks each day.

Read about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4 years

Meal plan for a child aged 1 year

This plan is for a 1 year old healthy child within the average range for growth at this age.

Find out about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4

Food pyramid for a child aged 1 year

Cereals and breads, potatoes, pasta and rice: 3 to 4 servings a day

Vegetables, salad and fruit: 2 to 3 servings a day

Milk, yogurt and cheese: 3 servings a day

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts: 2 servings a day

Fats, spreads and oils in very small amounts

Foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt: maximum 1 to 2 a week and in tiny amounts

Read about the food pyramid for children aged 1 to 4 years

Water throughout the day

Give 100ml water to drink with meals.

Find out which drinks children aged 1 to 4 years need

Breakfast

  • 1 cup (200ml) milk for cereal and to drink (1 serving)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) iron-fortified wheat flakes (1 serving)
  • half a mandarin in segments (half serving)

Mid-morning snack

  • 1 yogurt (47g) (half serving)

Lunch

  • 15g cheddar cheese (half serving)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) tomato pasta sauce (half serving)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) cooked macaroni pasta (1 serving)

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 1 teaspoon (12g) peanut butter (1 serving)
  • 1 cracker (half serving)

Dinner

  • 30g chopped chicken (1 serving)
  • 30g carrots and green beans (1 serving)
  • half scoop mashed potato (half serving)
  • 1 yogurt (47g) (half serving)

Evening snack

  • 100ml breastmilk or milk (half serving)

Servings

The meal plan gives:

  • 3 servings of cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • 2 servings of vegetables, salad and fruit
  • 3 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese
  • 2 servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts
Meal plan for a child aged 2 years

This plan is for a healthy child aged 2 years.

Find out about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4

Food pyramid for a child aged 2 years

Cereals and breads, potatoes, pasta and rice: 3 to 4 servings a day

Vegetables, salad and fruit: 2 to 3 servings a day

Milk, yogurt and cheese: 3 servings a day

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts: 2 servings a day

Fats, spreads and oils in very small amounts

Foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt: maximum 1 to 2 a week and in tiny amounts

Read about the food pyramid for children aged 1 to 4 years

Water throughout the day

Give 100ml water to drink with meals.

Find out which drinks children aged 1 to 4 years need

Breakfast

  • 1 cup (200ml) milk for cereal and to drink (1 serving)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) iron-fortified toasted rice cereal (1 serving)

Mid-morning snack

  • 1 slice (25g) wholemeal bread toasted, thinly spread with butter or margarine (1 serving)

Lunch

  • 30g tinned tuna with small amount of mayonnaise added (1 serving)
  • half cup (30g) sweetcorn (1 serving)
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) cooked pasta (1 serving)

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 2 thumbs (25g) cheese (1 serving)
  • 1 cracker (half serving)

Dinner

  • 30g beef mince (1 serving)
  • 30g grated carrot (1 serving)
  • half scoop (30g) mashed potato (half serving)
  • 1 mandarin (1 serving)

Evening snack

  • 200ml breast milk or milk (1 serving)

Servings

The meal plan gives:

  • 4 servings of cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • 3 servings of vegetables, salad and fruit
  • 3 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese
  • 2 servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts
Meal plan for a child aged 3 years

This plan is for a 3 year old child.

Find out about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4

Food pyramid for a child aged 3 years

Cereals and breads, potatoes, pasta and rice: 4 to 6 servings a day

Vegetables, salad and fruit: 4 to 5 servings a day

Milk, yogurt and cheese: 3 servings a day

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts: 3 to 4 servings a day

Fats, spreads and oils in very small amounts

Foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt: maximum 1 to 2 a week and in tiny amounts

Read about the food pyramid for children aged 1 to 4 years

Water throughout the day

Give 100ml water to drink with meals.

Find out which drinks children aged 1 to 4 years need

Breakfast

  • 1 egg (1 serving)
  • 100ml unsweetened orange juice (1 serving)
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread toasted with 5g butter or margarine (1 serving)

Mid-morning snack

  • 1 small pot (47g) yogurt (half serving)
  • 5 to 6 raspberries, cut in halves (1 serving)

Lunch

  • 1 falafel (half serving)
  • quarter tub (35g) hummus (1 serving)
  • 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters (1 serving)
  • half small wrap (1 serving)
  • 100ml low fat milk (half serving)

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 25g cheese (1 serving)
  • 1 rice cake (1 serving)

Dinner

  • 30g salmon (1 serving)
  • half cup (30g) carrots (1 serving)
  • 1 scoop mashed potato (1 serving)
  • 25g rice pudding made with 200ml milk (1 serving)

Evening snack

  • 100ml milk (half serving)
  • half slice (30g) banana bread (half serving)

Servings

This meal plan gives:

  • 4.5 servings of cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • 4 servings of vegetables, salad and fruit
  • 3.5 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese
  • 3.5 servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts
Meal plan for a child aged 3 years on a vegetarian diet

This plan is for a 3 year old whose family eats a vegetarian diet.

Find out about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4

Water throughout the day

Give 100ml of water to drink with meals.

Find out which drinks children aged 1 to 4 years need

Breakfast

  • 30g porridge made with 100ml milk (1 serving)
  • 200ml milk (100ml to drink and 100ml for porridge) (1 serving)
  • 5 to 6 strawberries (1 serving)

Mid-morning snack

  • 3 to 4 cucumber sticks (1 serving)
  • 35g hummus (1 serving)

Lunch

  • 1 boiled egg (1 serving)
  • 1 slice of bread with 5g butter or margarine (1 serving)
  • 1 mandarin (1 serving)

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 2 crackers (1 serving)
  • 25g cheese (1 serving)

Dinner

  • 40g chickpeas, or 1/4 cup (1 serving)
  • 40g onions and peppers, or half a cup (1 serving)
  • 80g rice (2 servings)
  • 1 pot (125g) plain yogurt (1 serving)

Evening snack

  • 1 slice of malted fruit loaf with 5g butter or margarine (1 serving)

Servings

This plan gives:

  • 6 servings of cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • 4 servings of vegetables, salad and fruit
  • 3 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese
  • 3 servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts
Meal plan for a child aged 4 years

This plan is for a 4 year old child.

Find out about portion sizes for children aged 1 to 4

Food pyramid for a child aged 4 years

Cereals and breads, potatoes, pasta and rice: 4 to 6 servings a day

Vegetables, salad and fruit: 4 to 5 servings a day

Milk, yogurt and cheese: 3 servings a day

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts: 3 to 4 servings a day

Fats, spreads and oils in very small amounts

Foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt: maximum 1 to 2 a week and in tiny amounts

Water throughout the day

Give 100ml water to drink with their meals.

Find out which drinks children aged 1 to 4 years need

Breakfast

  • 200ml milk for cereal and to drink (1 serving)
  • Half a sliced banana (1 serving)
  • 1.5 wheat biscuits (like Weetabix) with 100ml milk (1 serving)

Mid-morning snack

  • 1 pitta bread (2 servings)
  • 35g hummus (1 serving)

Lunch

  • 80g beans (2 servings)
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread with 5g butter or margarine (1 serving)
  • 1 pot (125g) plain yogurt (1 serving)

Mid-evening snack

  • 100ml custard (half serving)
  • 40g stewed plums (1 serving)

Dinner

  • 30g beef (1 serving)
  • 80g stir fried vegetables (2 servings)
  • 75g noodles (2 servings)
  • 100ml unsweetened orange juice (1 serving)

Evening snack

  • Half a bagel with 5g butter or margarine (1 serving)
  • 100ml milk (half serving)

Servings

This plan gives:

  • 7 servings of cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • 5 servings of vegetables, salad and fruit
  • 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • 4 servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts
Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 5 November 2021
Next review due: 5 November 2024

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