Kids may want sugary cereals, but choosing cereals fortified with iron and other nutrients is better for their development.

How to Measure Cereal

by Jill Kokemuller

When you are picking up pieces of cereal from the floor, couch cushions, inside your shirt and out of your hair, it may seem like measuring cereal portions was a purposeless exercise. But your little one has certain dietary needs just like you do. Measuring portions will help ensure your child is getting the correct amount of grains, not too few or too many, even if all the pieces don't make it to their intended destination.

Start with a small amount of cereal. Measure dry cereal with a tablespoon. According to the Nestle nutrition guide, babies 8 to 9 months old can have 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal twice a day, increasing to 4 to 6 tablespoons a day for babies 9 to 12 months old.

For toddlers, measure dry cereal with a measuring cup. Give toddlers 1/2 cup of dry cereal at snack time, or 1 cup of cereal as part of a meal. If you do not have a measuring cup, keep in mind that 1 cup is about the size of a baseball.

Place an empty bowl on a small scale to measure cereal by weight for older children. Note the weight of the empty bowl. Add cereal and subtract the weight of the bowl from the total weight to get the weight of the cereal. Give your child the single-serving portion recommended on the nutritional panel on the cereal box. If you do not have a scale, you can use a measuring cup for cup-based portions.

Items you will need

  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Food scale


  • Give younger children dry cereal. Once it is measured, you can place it on a high chair tray so they can reach it easier. Once they are old enough to handle a spoon, you can add milk to the cereal; avoid using cow's milk until they are a year old. Babies should generally start eating dry infant cereal at about six months of age, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. As always, with general guidelines, talk to your pediatrician about what is right for your child.


  • If cereal causes your child problems such as diarrhea, abdominal pain or weight loss, have a doctor check for Celiac disease, a hereditary condition in which gluten in foods damages the lining of the small intestine, causing an inability to absorb nutrients. With this in mind, you may need to purchase gluten free cereals.

About the Author

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images