Healthy living

Healthy drinks for your toddler

So just what are healthy drinks for your toddler?

You should offer your toddler (1 to 3 year old) about one and a half cups (375 mL) of milk each day – a little less if your toddler still has some breastfeeds. (Special ‘toddler milks’ are not necessary.)

Offer water at other times.

Some children may fill up on drinks and this leaves little room for solid foods. Give food before drinks at mealtimes.

Fruit juice is unnecessary. It is better for your toddler to have pieces of whole fruit.

Drinks that should not be given to toddlers

Reduced fat milks are not recommended for children under 2 because of their high energy needs.

Soft drinks and cordials are high in sugar. Intake of these drinks has been linked to obesity and tooth decay. Children can fill up on these and then are not hungry for food.

The following drinks contain tannins and/or caffeine and are not suitable for children:

  • tea
  • herbal teas
  • coffee
  • chocolate drinks
  • cola drinks.

Energy drinks claim to have ‘energy enhancing ingredients’ including vitamins, amino acids and caffeine/guarana in amounts that are not safe for children.

Where to get help

Local community or child health nurse

  • See inside your baby's purple All About Me book
  • Look in the service finder under child health centres
  • Visit your nearest child health centre

Local family doctor

Dietitians Association of Australia

Ngala Helpline

  • 8.00am – 8.00pm 7 days a week
  • Phone: (08) 9368 9368
  • Outside metro area – Free call 1800 111 546 (free from land line only)
  • Visit the Ngala website (external site)

Raising Children Network



  • Milk, each day, is the best drink for your child.
  • Encourage your child to drink plain water when thirsty and to eat fresh fruit and vegetables instead of drinking juice.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are not recommended for children.


Child and Adolescent Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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