By age two, your toddler should be eating three healthy meals a day, plus one or two snacks. He can eat the same food as the rest of the family.
Don’t be alarmed, however, if he doesn’t always meet this ideal. Many toddlers resist eating certain foods, or for long periods insist on eating only one or two favorite foods. The more you struggle with your child over his eating preferences, the more determined he’ll be to defy you. As we suggested earlier, if you offer him a variety of foods and leave the choices to him, he’ll eventually consume a balanced diet on his own. He may be more interested in healthful foods if he can feed them to himself. So, whenever possible, offer him finger foods (i.e., fresh fruits or raw vegetables other than carrots and celery) instead of cooked ones that require a fork or spoon to eat.
Do not fixate on amounts and do not make mealtimes a battle. Do, however, pay attention to adopting healthy eating habits and making healthy food choices as a family. Sitting as a family at mealtime is the beginning of a good habit, too!
At age two, he can use a spoon, drink from a cup with just one hand, and feed himself a wide variety of finger foods. But while he can eat properly, he’s still learning to chew and swallow efficiently, and may gulp his food when he’s in a hurry to get on with playing. For that reason, the risk of choking is high, so avoid the following foods, which could be swallowed whole and block the windpipe: hot dogs (unless sliced lengthwise, then across), whole raw carrots, spoonfuls of peanut butter, nuts (especially peanuts), raw cherries with pits, round, hard candies or gum, raw celery, whole grapes, and marshmallows.