What is a Toddler Serving Size of Fruit?

Smiling little girl with cherries lying on a meadow
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Fruit has the good fortune of being one of the foods babies love most. This tends to spill over into the toddler years and as long as you aren't allowing a lot of sugary snacks and cereals, your child's love for fruit can go on indefinitely. Your toddler needs:

1 Cup of Fruits

1 cup of fruit can come in the form of:

  • 1 cup chopped or sliced pieces of any fruit (fresh, frozen, cooked or canned) like apples, bananas, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, fruit cocktail, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, strawberries or watermelon
  • 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice
  • 1/2 large apple
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 large banana
  • 32 seedless grapes
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 large peach
  • 2 canned peach halves
  • 3 medium plums
  • 2 large plums
  • 8 large strawberries
  • 1 1-inch thick wedge of watermelon
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit like raisins, prunes or apricots

The biggest problem most parents face when it comes to the fruit requirement is juice. Juices may be fortified with vitamin C, which is great, but they often come with added sugars, flavors and they lack fiber, which is so important in a toddler's diet. Toddlers need fiber to keep their bowel movements soft and easy to pass. It also keeps them going regularly and helps prevent constipation which can cause potty training to grind to an unpleasant halt. If you choose juice, try to keep it to 1/2 cup (4 ounces) per day.

Another issue involves canned fruit. It's often packed in sugar or corn syrup which can add unnecessary calories.

Your toddler only needs about 1,000 calories each day and fruit is sweet enough without the adding sugars. Check the label and choose fruit that is packed in water, its own juice or other fruit juice with no sugar.

Be careful with fruits like grapes, raisins, and other dried fruits. These can pose a choking hazard and should be chopped up appropriately.

If introducing fruit snacks like fruit leather or fruit chews, choose natural varieties with 100 percent fruit and few sugars and again, make sure that the pieces are small enough that your child will not choke. Fruit leathers and dried fruits can be chopped and soaked in warm water which makes them easier to chew and swallow. Add these to bread, oatmeal, yogurt or pudding for a nice treat.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition