Toddler Liquid Intake
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD
Q. My 23 month old is 30 pounds and 34.5 inches. He has been not eating well lately, and I wonder if I am giving him too many liquids. He drinks 40 ounces of milk a day and 12 ounces of juice. His stools are loose but not runny. How much milk should he have and how much juice?
A. Yes, it's very easy for toddlers to get filled up on fluids and not be hungry for the other nutritious foods they need. The amounts you gave for milk and juice are quite a bit more than he probably should be getting each day.
As far as dairy is concerned, two servings daily are suggested. One serving of dairy for toddlers is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt, or 2 oz of cheese. So the upper range for milk would be 16 oz.
There is no "recommended* amount for juice, because juice itself is not absolutely essential. It counts as a serving of fruit, but other fruits are often a better choice. Either way, two servings of fruit are suggested per day. A serving of juice is only 6 ounces, and should probably only count for one serving of fruit a day. You can offer whole fruit to meet the suggested two servings a day.
If you cut down on the amount of milk and juice offered, you will probably find that his appetite increases. You can offer water in addition to milk and juice if he is thirsty. It's a good idea to cut back now, as excess calories from milk and juice consumption can be a significant contributing factor in childhood obesity.