An easy-to-follow toddler meal and snack schedule. Stick to a schedule to help prevent melt downs and keep your toddler happy throughout the day.
Are you wondering: How many snacks should a toddler eat? How many meals should a 2 year old eat? Do toddlers need snacks between meals?
I’m here to help! I’m a mom of two boys 16 months apart. One is currently a toddler and the other is not far behind.
I’ve been a working mama and a stay-at-home mom for parts of my children’s’ lives. So, I totally get both sides and all the questions you may be asking.
We have been following a feeding schedule since both of my kids were about 2 months old, so we love rocking schedules and think it helps keep everyone in the house sane and on the same page.
I’m sharing our easy toddler meal and snack schedule for everyday use or use on the weekends if you toddler is in school or other care during the week. This schedule will help guide and structure your day and make sure your toddler doesn’t get “hangry (hungry + angry)”, because no one likes that!
Why do Toddlers Need a Meal Schedule?
A meal schedule can be extremely helpful for a few reasons.
- Structure. We love daily schedules or routines. It can be helpful when scheduling outings, appointments, or play dates, because you know approximately when your kids will need to eat or sleep. It also help’s regulate their metabolism as they learn to expect when the next meal or snack is coming. We love this Toddler Daily Schedule by Pinecones & Pacifiers.
- Prevents snacking all day. Snacking all day can make it so your toddler isn’t hungry come meal time. Normally meals are a little more nutritious and wholesome than snacks, so you probably don’t want your toddler skipping meals because they filled up on snack food. Limit snacks to your scheduled snack time and don’t give snack food in between.
- Prevents “hangry”. On the contrary to preventing snacking all day, it also prevents your toddler from getting “hangry”. Scheduling snacks approximately half way between meals can help your toddler make it to the next meal without getting hungry. Most young toddlers and children cannot go longer than 2-3 hours in between eating so snacks are necessary for some.
How Many Snacks?
How many snacks may vary from toddler to toddler, however most toddlers need 1–3 snacks per day. Some older toddlers may not need any snacks scheduled into the day, but 3 is a good max limit for scheduled snacks.
We currently have 2 snacks scheduled, with an optional 3rd snack after dinner. Our two snacks are approximately half-way between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and dinner.
Toddler Meal and Snack Schedule
Below is our meal and snack schedule for our (almost) 2 year old toddler:
Breakfast is at 8:00 am. He normally wakes around 7:00 am and likes to lay in his crib to wake up for a little while. Around 7:30 am he comes out and watches a little TV while his brother gets a bottle and mom prepares breakfast.
Snack #1 is at 10:00 am. In between breakfast and our first snack, we normally get out of the house and go on a walk, to the park, or to run errands. This snack may be on-the-go if needed.
Lunch is at 12:30 pm. We like to do lunch right before nap time as a way to wind down and prepare for the nap. If there is any time between lunch and nap, I like to head to my toddler’s room and do quiet time activities like reading.
Snack #2 is right after nap time. We normally do a light snack since dinner is normally the largest meal of the day.
Dinner is at 5:30 pm. We sit at the table and eat dinner as a family just about every day. After dinner we normally go on a walk if the weather is nice.
Snack #3 (optional) is around 7:30 pm or right before bed. This is not a scheduled snack, but if my toddler says he is hungry we will offer cereal. We stick to this one option for a late night snack to make sure he doesn’t hold out on eating dinner for a bedtime snack.
- 7:00 am – Wake
- 8:00 am – BREAKFAST
- 10:00 am – Snack #1
- 12:30 pm – LUNCH
- 1:30 pm – Nap (if needed)
- 3:30 pm – Snack #2
- 5:30 pm – DINNER
- 7:30 pm – Optional Snack #3
- 8:00 pm – Bed time
What to Feed Toddlers for Meals and Snacks?
Here are some of our favorite meal and snack ideas!
- Whole grain waffle & banana
- Scrambled eggs & avocado
- Silver dollar pancakes & blueberries
- Avocado toast & mandarin oranges
- Mini breakfast burrito
- Banana French Toast (check out the recipe here)
- Cereal with milk
- Oatmeal (check out 8 easy oatmeal recipes here)
- Pinwheels & peas and carrots
- Peanut butter and jelly & peaches
- Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles & watermelon
- Chicken salad with avoacdo and peas
- Mac ‘n cheese with peas and carrots
- Veggie corn dog & pineapple
- Quesadilla & black beans
- Zucchini noodles and red sauce
- Deconstructed taco plate
- Fried rice & veggies
- Deconstructed guacamole burgers & sweet potato fries
- Roasted chicken & veggies
- Pizza with a side of fruit & veggies
- Chili or soup
- Yogurt parfait
- Veggie muffins
- Cheese & crackers
- Granola or fig bar
- Applesauce pouch
- Toddler Snack Tray (check out my post with 50 Toddler Snack Tray Ideas)
You might also like some of my posts with toddler snack ideas: 18 Fun Toddler Snack Ideas
Thanks for stopping by!