Background Health and growth during the first 2 years of life demand adequate nutrition. Proportionate to the toddler’s size, the nutrient requirements exceed those of adults by up to six-fold. Objective This study reports the first national survey to assess the diets of British children at 14 months. Methods The data were gathered by postal questionnaire sent to the mothers who had participated in the 1995 National Survey of Infant Feeding. The results were evaluated in respect of the recommendations from COMA for the UK. Results A total of 5069 children of average age 14 months were included. Bread and cereal were consumed frequently. Fifty per cent of the children ate raw fruit, 51% ate cooked vegetables, 34% ate meat and 76% drank cow’s milk daily. Consumption of sweetened drinks (such as squashes and carbonated drinks) was common. This study confirmed the influence of social, economic and educational inequalities on dietary practices.