Toddlers and Bananas – Recommended Daily Portions by Age

Toddlers can eat 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.

According to Everyday Health:

“Bananas, when fully ripe, contain soluble fiber and thus can help treat constipation.

However, unripe, or green, bananas have high levels of resistant starch, which can be very binding and cause constipation.”

The ripeness of the bananas your little one consumes matters a great deal, and serving portions should remain within the recommended guidelines to avoid digestive upset.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring your toddler is sufficiently hydrated and eating from all the major food groups is critical.
  • Bananas have many nutrients needed to support healthy growth.
  • Bananas can contribute to tooth decay, nutrient imbalances, and weight gain if consumed excessively.
  • Toddlers should consume no more than ¾ to 1 ½ bananas per day.

Toddlers and Bananas – What To Know

Rest assured that having a strong preference for one food is totally normal with toddlers.

Bananas certainly have health advantages for your toddler, but it’s important that they don’t have too much of this super fruit during the day.

My best friend’s daughter practically lived on bananas when she was around 15 months old.

After a month or so, her banana phase passed, and she moved on to obsess over peanut butter!

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 five bananas a day to reach this limit!

However, the fiber and sugar content of that many bananas would pose equally significant health risks.

What is considered too many bananas is relative to your child’s specific age.

The recommended daily banana portions for babies and up are as follows:

AgeBananas per Day
0-6 months4-6 tablespoons (1/4 to a 1/3 of a large banana)
6-9 months4-8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 of a large banana)
9-12 months3/4 to 1 cup (3/4 to 1 large banana)
1-2 years3/4 to 1 1/2 cups (3/4 to 1.5 large bananas)
2-3 years1 to 1 1/2 cups (1 to 1.5 large bananas)

Why 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 contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients needed for healthy toddler growth 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, ripe bananas are a great way to help them meet this target.

This high-fiber content helps to naturally aid their digestion.

Nutritional Facts

One medium, ripe banana provides:

NutrientAmount
Calories105
Total fat0.4 g
Saturated fat0.1 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium1 mg
Total carbohydrates27 g
Dietary fiber3.1 g
Sugars14.4 g
Protein1.3 g
Vitamin C10.3 mg (18%)
Vitamin A76.3 IU (2%)
Potassium422 mg (12%)
Magnesium31.9 mg (8%)
Iron0.3 mg (2%)

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:

Dental Issues

The gummy texture and high sugar content in bananas can contribute to tooth decay, 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.

Additionally, toddlers need to consume healthy fats to grow properly. Bananas contain very little fat.

Weight Gain

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.

Digestive Problems

Though bananas in 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.

Underripe bananas are high in hard-to-digest starches, which can lead to tummy upset.

A cute toddler snacking on a banana while sitting in his car seat.

What To Do if Your Toddler Only Wants Bananas

It’s not uncommon for toddlers to go through phases where they prefer certain foods over others.

If your toddler has a strong preference for bananas, here are some tips for parents:

  1. Maintain a Feeding Schedule: Become intentional about their daily meals and snacks so you can keep a close eye on what they eat.
  2. Offer Variety: While bananas are a healthy fruit, it’s important to provide a balanced diet. Introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure your toddler gets a range of nutrients.
  3. Mix and Match: Combine bananas with other foods. For example, you can serve banana slices with a small amount of peanut butter or yogurt. This adds variety and additional nutrients.
  4. Be Creative: Experiment with different ways of serving bananas. You can incorporate them into smoothies, mix them into oatmeal, or use them as a topping for pancakes or waffles.
  5. Introduce New Textures: Sometimes, food preferences are related to textures. Offer different textures and consistencies to see if your toddler responds positively.
  6. Distract Them: Often, your little one will be 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.
  7. Involve Them in Meal Preparation: Let your toddler be a part of the meal preparation process. This can include washing fruits, picking out vegetables at the store, or even helping with simple tasks in the kitchen.
  8. Set a Good Example: Children often model their behavior after adults. If they see you enjoying a variety of foods, they may be more inclined to try new things themselves.
  9. Patience Is Key: It’s common for toddlers to be picky eaters. Keep offering a variety of foods, but avoid making mealtime a stressful experience. It’s essential to create positive associations with food.
  10. Ensure a Balanced Diet: While it’s okay if bananas are a favorite, make sure your toddler is getting a balanced diet overall. This includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains.

When 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.

“…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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 fruits.

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.

Are Organic Bananas Better?

There isn’t much research to support the idea that organic bananas are more nutritious or beneficial than conventional ones.

However, according to Healthline:

“It’s possible that organic bananas contain fewer pesticides, heavy metals, and other agricultural chemicals compared with conventional bananas.”

Pediatric dietician and mom-of-two Edwena Kennedy notes:

“Just because something is organic, doesn’t mean that it protects you from all the potentially harmful residues out there.”

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 bananas 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.