Is your little one a banana fiend? Perhaps you’ve recently come to realize just how ubiquitous nanas are in your child’s day and have started to wonder about whether your toddler can have too much of a good thing.
Toddlers can be given between 3/4 and 1 1/2 large bananas each day. Regularly consuming more than this daily recommended amount can lead to digestive and dental issues due to the high fiber and sugar content. It’s important to introduce a wide variety of food to your toddler’s diet.
People often mention potassium levels as a main risk factor for excessive banana consumption, but the fiber and natural sugars in a banana are more likely to cause health issues in your toddler.
Keep reading to find out how many bananas are too much for your toddler, recommended portions by age, and more.
Toddlers and Bananas – What To Know
This go-to finger food certainly has its health advantages for your toddler, but it’s important that they don’t have too much of this super fruit during the day.
Let’s find out why your little one likes bananas so much, the health risks of eating too many, and answers to other questions.
Why Do Toddlers Like Bananas?
According to pediatricians, bananas are a popular snack for toddlers as they are easy to hold when they are constantly on the move.
They are also easy to chew and have a sweetness that kids enjoy, and the mushy texture is familiar to them as they have likely been fed bananas from a very early age.
Benefits of Eating Bananas
A single banana contributes to your child’s daily fruit and vegetable needs and contains many of the vitamins and micronutrients needed to support the growth of a healthy toddler such as vitamins A and B6 that help support the function of their nervous and cardiovascular system.
Bananas are also rich in fiber with a medium one containing over 3 grams.
As children between 1 and 3 years old require 19 grams of fiber per day, this fruit is a great way to help them meet this target. This high-fiber content also helps to naturally aid their digestion too.
Effects of Too Many Bananas
Even super fruits need to be consumed in moderation; otherwise, they can impact digestion, weight, and even your toddler’s dental health.
Here are some of the consequences of excessive banana consumption:
The gummy texture and high sugar content in nanas can contribute to tooth decay as it sticks to your child’s teeth, and the bacteria in your child’s mouth will consume the sugar and excrete acid, leading to cavities.
Lack of Nutritional Balance
Bananas are pretty filling for your toddler’s small stomach, so loading up on too many will leave them too full to try other recommended food groups.
While bananas aren’t the highest-calorie food (105 in a medium banana), excess amounts risk pushing your toddler’s daily calorie intake (roughly 1,000-1,400) beyond its limits, leading to weight gain.
Though small amounts can aid your little one’s digestion, too much can do the opposite — giving your child uncomfortable gas, bloating, and even diarrhea as all this excess fiber can be too much to handle.
How Many Bananas Is Too Many?
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended amount of daily potassium for children aged 1 to 3 years is 2,000 mg.
As one medium banana contains about 422 mg, your toddler would need to eat seven bananas a day to reach this limit!
As we’ve discussed earlier though, the fiber and sugar content from this amount of bananas would pose health risks long before the potassium limit was reached.
Furthermore, what is considered too many bananas is also relative to your child’s specific age.
The recommended daily banana portions for babies and up are as follows:
|Age||Bananas per Day|
|0-6 months||4-6 tablespoons (1/4 to a 1/3 of a large banana)|
|6-9 months||4-8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 of a large banana)|
|9-12 months||3/4 to 1 cup (3/4 to 1 large banana)|
|1-2 years||3/4 to 1 1/2 cups (3/4 to 1.5 large bananas)|
|2-3 years||1 to 1 1/2 cups (1 to 1.5 large bananas)|
Are Organic Bananas Better?
There isn’t much research to support the idea that organic bananas are more nutritious or beneficial than conventional ones.
According to pediatric dietician and mom-of-two Edwena Kennedy from My Little Eater, “You won’t notice a difference in how your child grows, or the amount of vitamins or minerals that they get.”
Are Bananas a Choking Hazard?
Bananas are not considered a common choking hazard, but the sticky texture may cling to your child’s mouth, which may cause gagging.
Don’t worry though, as this is normal when your little one moves on to solid foods and simply means they are adjusting to new textures and learning their chewing and swallowing capabilities.
Safely preparing nanas can help to reduce potential choking in your little one.
Offer the appropriate portion sizes for their age, remove the rogue banana strings, and serve fully ripe, soft bananas (bright yellow with some brown/black smudges) as underripe (green or tinges of green) will be too hard to chew.
What To Do if Your Toddler Only Wants Bananas
If your little one only seems to go bananas for bananas, try to combine it with other foods such as banana puree mixed in with other fruit or with wholegrain cereal to provide additional health benefits.
Other tips to try:
- Keep to a feeding schedule – Become intentional about their daily meals and snacks so you can keep a close eye on what they eat so that they have one nana-free day once in a while
- Distract them – Often, your little one will be reaching out/asking for their familiar yellow snack out of boredom, so try to divert their attention elsewhere with their toys, a walk in the park, etc.
- Say no – Try to stand firm and make them understand that they can’t have bananas all the time. Ignoring their protest in the short term is looking out for their health in the long term.
When Do Toddler Eating Habits Change?
If it seems that your toddler’s obsession with bananas will never end, just know that most children normally grow out of a picky eating phase by 3 to 5 years old.
Susan Evers, professor of family relations and applied nutrition at the University of Guelph, Ontario explains that “toddlers often go on these food jags when they’ll only eat certain things and reject others.”
She goes on to say:
“…these fluctuations and changes are normal. Just keep offering healthy foods and set a good example yourself by eating well, and your children will do just fine.”
Do Bananas Stop Diarrhea?
Bananas are rich in fiber, which can help to bulk up stools.
A type of fiber in bananas known as pectin also helps to absorb any excess liquid in the intestines, helping to make stools firmer and reduce the amount and frequency of diarrhea.
Can Eating Too Many Bananas Cause Diarrhea?
According to experts in nutrition, bananas contain a sugar alcohol known as sorbitol that can have laxative-like effects when a lot of it is consumed.
Unripe bananas can be the worst offenders for diarrhea as they are high in resistant starch, which our bodies can take a long time to digest.
Can Babies Eat Bananas Every Day?
Yes, babies can eat bananas every day, but moderation is key for their health, and it’s important for babies to be introduced to a variety of fruit.
Aim to feed your baby one small banana each day as the high fiber content can lead to constipation and intestinal discomfort when consumed in large amounts.
To sum up, toddlers (between ages 1 and 3) can safely have between three-quarters and 1 and a half large bananas per day.
Eating more than this now and again is unlikely to do any great harm, but be wary of the symptoms that can come with eating too many, such as bloating, diarrhea, and even weight gain and poor dental health in the long run.
Sticking to a feeding schedule is one way to reduce your kiddo’s nana consumption, helping you become more mindful about what foods are recurring on their plate.
Rebecca is a seasoned copywriter and researcher with over a decade of experience, specializing in parenting topics. With a passion for all aspects of raising children, from breastfeeding to potty training.