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I have a 2 1/2 year old who doesn't eat much. I'm curious what the actual amount of required nutritious food is for a child who is around 30 pounds. I have heard they don't need as much as we think!

Your child is probably around three by now, and surprisingly, active three year olds eat quite a bit! Active boy and girl toddlers need about 1400 calories per day, which is about 70% of what an adult needs in a day - though this highly depends on your child’s activity level. For sedentary three year olds they need around 1,100 calories per day to support growth. If your child is very active they could need as much as 1,650 calories per day! 

Here is what a daily average meal plan looks like for a moderately active three year old:

I have a one year old and I need some advice for good food choices for her that are healthy and filling, especially since she can be a picky eater.

Let me start by saying that picky toddlers are normal! It can be frustrating as a parent, but know that this is a process of experimenting and trying new things for both of you. It might take some time for her to get used to new tastes, smells, and consistencies. It may also take 10-15 tries of a new food before she'll start to like it.

My daughter is 2 years, 8 months old. She weighs 52 pounds and is 39 inches tall. I want to feed her healthier food. She already eats salads and a lot of water. What else can I get her to eat? Can she still be healthy?

I completely understand your concern, as we all want the best for our children.  Your daughter is at the top percentile for both her height and weight, though you should not worry about having to put her on a restricted diet for weight loss.  We want her to maintain her weight as her height catches up with her weight.  For children who are two years and older, our main focus is for them to eat well and exercise/play sufficiently for optimal growth. 

Is chocolate milk good for my child?

According to MyPlate recommendation, the best milk for your child is fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk not chocolate milk.  Chocolate milk is okay as a special treat, but it should not be a regular part of your child's diet.  Although it has the same nutrients as plain milk, chocolate milk contains added sugar that has more calories than plain milk.  Excess consumption of sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity overtime.

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