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7 Kinds of Foods Toddlers Should Not Eat

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 21, 2023

7 Kinds of Foods Toddlers Should Not Eat

As much as we want our toddlers to explore more food textures and flavors, there are still some guidelines to follow. For instance, there are foods that toddlers should not eat because they might increase the risk of choking. Likewise, we should limit serving them certain food products because excessive consumption may pose certain health risks later on. Parents, be careful when serving your toddler the following foods.

Foods that increase choking risks

Your little one’s eating habits during toddlerhood is pretty straightforward: once you serve them food, they’ll put it in their mouth right away. They don’t consider whether it’s soft or well-cooked, they just focus on taste.

For this reason, toddlers should not eat foods that increase the risk of choking. Examples include:

  • Marshmallows
  • Chunks of peanut butter
  • Slippery foods, such as grapes, whole hotdogs, and candies
  • Hard-to-chew foods, such as large pieces of meat, fish, and poultry
  • Small hard foods they may pop in the mouth easily but not chew, like popcorn, raw carrots, and raisins. Crush peanuts first before serving it to them.

Avoid giving them candies for now, and always cut or slice foods into small chunks before serving it to them.

Salty foods

Kids 1 to 3 years old should not have more than 2 grams of salt daily, as it may be bad for their kidneys. Considering that some foods already contain salt, toddlers should no longer consume food products with added sodium.

For this reason, toddlers should not eat salty foods such as:

  • Processed meat, including sausages and bacons
  • Pre-packed meals
  • Chips and crackers
  • Some kinds of cheese

And of course, instead of seasoning their food with salt, consider using herbs and spices.

Sugary foods

On top of affecting their blood sugar levels, foods high in sugar can also cause tooth decay. While you can still give sweets to your toddler from time to time, make sure that their consumption of sugary foods is limited. Additionally, only serve sweets during mealtime and don’t use it as a reward for good behavior.

Foods high in saturated fats

Toddlers should not eat foods high in saturated fats, as they can affect their cholesterol levels and may even cause problems in their heart health later in life.

As much as possible, limit their consumption of the following foods:

  • Processed meat
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Pastries, such as pies and croissants
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Butter and margarine

Always read food labels and check the amount of saturated fats in the product.

For your toddler’s sources of healthy fats, consider avocado, nuts, and seeds. Also, please remember that your method of meal preparation and cooking oil can influence their fat intake as well.

foods toddlers should not eat

Raw and minimally-cooked eggs

Raw and minimally-cooked eggs may have bacteria like salmonella that can cause food poisoning.

Keeping this in mind, avoid serving your toddler foods that contain raw eggs such as homemade mayonnaise and raw cake batter. Cook eggs until both the egg white and yolk are solid.

Some kinds of fish

Did you know that some kinds of fish have high levels of mercury that can negatively affect your toddler’s development? Examples of fish that may have high mercurial content are swordfish and marlin. Learn more about low-mercury seafood here in the Philippines, here.

Some kinds of cheese

Cheese can be a good part of your toddler’s diet because it’s packed with protein, calcium, and vitamins. However, some kinds of cheese, especially those mold-ripened and made from unpasteurized milk, can cause listeria infection, which can lead to headache, fever, convulsions, and stiff neck.

For this reason, foods like brie and camembert are included in foods that toddlers should not eat. On the other hand, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese are generally okay.

Key Takeaways

Serving a variety of foods to your little one is crucial for their growth and development. However, we should avoid giving toddlers foods that increase choking risk and those that can trigger health problems later on.

Learn more about Toddler Nutrition here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 21, 2023

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