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Ahimsa – a perfect mix of Dr. Mantravadi's love for children, background in medicine and Indian heritage.

Ahimsa aims to get plastic OFF the table but knows it's more important to get healthy food ON the table.

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Mealtime Guide - Toddler

Toddler Mealtime Guide

The servings below show an overall average, but can vary based on your child's specific age, gender and activity level.

A simple tip: For toddlers (ages 1-4), initially offer 1 tablespoon of foods (fruits, vegetables, and protein/main course foods) for every year of age, with more provided according to appetite.

Serve a variety of color and texture. By age 2, your child should be eating 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks each day.

Our simple Pediatrician developed guides for each age and stage help answer those questions: what should my child eat? How much should my child eat? Is it ok to give my child juice? What is the best way to transition from a bottle?

Bye, bye bottle!

Weaning from the bottle is important to prevent the health consequences of prolonged bottle use - this includes iron deficiency, poor nutrition and growth as well as tooth decay.


The sippy cup is not a developmental milestone and in fact, the AAP says that transition to an open cup directly is optimal. You can introduce an open cup as early as 6 months and generally by 12 months. Aim for a gradual transition off all bottle feeding by no later than 18 months of age.

Choking prevention

Children less than 4 years are at most risk for choking. They have smaller airways, incomplete dental formation, immature swallowing coordination and high activity levels during eating.


* Start with soft, mashed or ground foods and build to table foods by 12-18 months. Cut food into smaller pieces as they move past the soft food stage. Avoid high-risks foods like hot dogs, hard candy, peanuts, seeds, whole grapes, raw carrots, popcorn, and chewing gum.

* Children should be seated while eating and caregivers should always be present to observe your toddler during meals and snacks.

Food acceptance and patience

Our job as a caregiver is to offer healthy foods and regular mealtimes, and your toddler’s job is to decide whether she wants to eat and how much she wants to eat. Kids are naturally intuitive eaters and will eat to satisfy hunger.


Acceptance of some foods, like vegetables, is not immediate. It can take 8-10 times before children accept a food! Continue to offer tastes of less preferred, nutrient-dense foods without expectations that your child will consume a full-serving. Remember to offer it in a pleasant manner without forcing, distracting or rewarding during mealtime.

Portion Distortion

Over the past 20 years, portion sizes have increased dramatically. The National Institute of Health calls it portion distortion. Try using smaller bowls (like our 8 oz / 1 cup) bowl to help create appropriate age-based serving sizes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 9 million to 45 million cases of the flu each year. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to do what we can to stay healthy. To fight the flu, healthcare experts suggest that everyone get an annual flu shot. In addition to following medical guidance, you can also stay healthy by eating certain immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich foods.

  • 3 min read
The American Academy of Pediatrics, The World Health Organization and The Endocrine Society are among the many medical communities that are sounding the alarm. Synthetic (made by humans) endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in everyday products - particularly in our food system. These chemicals look like our everyday hormones that allow us to grow, develop, reproduce, balance our body’s salt and water level and many more significant functions that keep us healthy. The chemicals in products look like our natural hormones and interrupt these normal signaling pathways. This is particularly important in children as they are still growing and developing rapidly - many organ systems are not even fully developed in that first decade of life.
  • 5 min read
Last month, a fantastic NPR podcast highlighted the problem with plastic which I will summarize here: “According to a 2017 research article, more than 40% of all plastic made is packaging, which is used only once or twice before being thrown away. According to a recent analysis examining global plastic waste generation between 2010 and 2016, the United States was responsible for more plastic trash than any country in the world. That’s millions and millions of tons of plastic waste. Per capita, that boils down to nearly 300 pounds of plastic trash per person(!) per year. It’s estimated that only about 9% of plastic waste generated in the U.S. is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, incinerators, and, unfortunately, marine environments such as rivers and oceans. And there, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it will remain for hundreds of years.”
  • 4 min read
Getting back to school is all about learning new routines, so now is a great time to develop healthier snacking habits. Packaged snack foods can be an easy, convenient choice for after school but often provide too many added calories and not enough nutrition. Snacks don't have to be complicated!
  • 2 min read

Sources: Pediatric Nutrition. 8th Ed. 2019. American Academy of Pediatrics. Frank R. Greer, MD, FAAP; Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, FAAP. *This website has been developed by Ahimsa LLC. This site offers health and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. While many of our experts are practicing clinicians, viewing this site, receipt of information contained on this site or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Any information provided is not meant to address a specific situation, person or event, even if you provide information about a specific person or situation to Ahimsa. Always seek the advice of your child’s own physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Please click here for more information on our disclaimer. Effective Date: October 7, 2019, Updated 6/17/2021. © 2021 Ahimsa LLC, All Rights Reserved