You and your baby will enjoy the delicious, nutritious food in this kit. Food For 1 Year Old Let us show you how easy it is to introduce solid foods and begin her lifelong journey of good eating habits.
Food For 1 Year Old
Your 1-year-old is changing, growing, and discovering at a whirlwind pace. Making sure they’re getting the foods they need may be a concern.
Inconsistent food choices and a fickle appetite are par for the course at this age. As frustrating as it might be, this is entirely normal as your toddler establishes independence and learns to discern their body’s fullness and hunger cues.
By the time they reach 12 months, toddlers need about 1,000 calories, 700 mg of calcium, 600 IU of vitamin D, and 7 mg of iron each day to support proper growth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With so much going on, you might be wondering how to best feed your 1-year-old without spending all day in the kitchen or chasing after them.
Here are 12 healthy and practical foods for 1-year-olds.
Around this time your 1-year-old starts to develop their pincer grasp, which involves pinching and maneuvering food with their fingertips, as they endeavor to self-feed. This is a great time to introduce finger-friendly foods.
Softer, fresh fruits are wonderful options for this transitional time and beyond. They not only deliver needed nutrients and a host of beneficial plant chemicals but also help cement healthy eating habits.
Slice bananas, clementines, strawberries, peaches, or mango, and slowly introduce them to your child. Avoid large pieces of fruit, as they may pose a choking hazard. Cut grapes into halves or quarters and never feed these to your child whole.
If your child doesn’t immediately take to the new fruit, don’t stress. In fact, studies show a child typically needs to be exposed to a new food 6–15 times before accepting it into their diet.
Soft fresh fruits can also be easily made into a smoothie or make an excellent snack when you’re on the go.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, make sure your child eats any cut-up fruit within 2 hours after being out of the fridge. If you’re outside and it’s over 90°F (32°C), that time shrinks to within 1 hour (4).
SUMMARYSoft, bite-sized bits of fruit are excellent choices, especially as your child experiments with self-feeding. Be sure they eat any cut-up fruit that’s been out of the fridge within 2 hours, or within 1 hour if you’re in hot temperatures.
As your child may be slowly weaning off breast milk or formula, it’s a good time to introduce cow’s milk.
Milk and yogurt are great sources of protein and bone-building calcium, which also benefits their developing teeth. One glass (244 ml) of whole milk offers 39% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium that your 1-year-old needs each day, as well as 8 grams of protein .
While you may continue to offer breast milk until 2 years of age or longer, whole fat dairy milk or yogurt may also be introduced at mealtimes or as a snack. Yogurt can be topped with diced fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey.
Honey can be introduced now at this age, but be sure to never feed it to a child under 12 months of age. Doing so can put them at risk of botulism, a serious infection .
Though dairy is generally safe at this age, be sure to watch for signs of a casein allergy.
Casein is a protein in milk. It’s different from lactose, which is a sugar found in milk that many adults don’t digest well.
A casein allergy manifests in about 2–3% of children under the age of 3, although more than 80% outgrow it. It seems to be most prevalent in children who were introduced to cow’s milk in infancy when breastfeeding was not an option.
Be sure to introduce new foods, including milk and dairy products, to your child slowly. In fact, it’s a good idea to do so one food at a time and wait 3–5 days between the introduction of another new food to see how their body reacts.
Symptoms of casein allergy include wheezing, hives, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your child experiences these or other reactions when you are introducing them to a new food, stop feeding them this food and speak to their healthcare provider.
Also, consult your child’s pediatrician before giving them plant-based milk alternatives, as these are generally not recommended for toddlers due to their lack of essential nutrients for growth.
SUMMARYWhole milk and yogurt are great options as your child weans off formula or breast milk. These provide protein and support bone growth. You can offer them at mealtimes or as snacks.
Little ones won’t master the jaw-grinding motion, which helps with proper chewing, until they’re about 4 years old. In the meantime, their food must be mashed or cut up into small, easy-to-chew pieces.
Oatmeal is a wonderful option as your child makes this transition into chewing. It’s easy to swallow and boasts an impressive nutritional profile with a hearty heap of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
What’s more, oats provide ample amounts of fiber, which helps keep their digestive tracts healthy and regular.
While premixed packages are tempting, opt for your own homemade blend when possible to limit their intake of added sugar. If you’re strapped for time, consider making overnight oats by simply soaking them in the fridge overnight.
Mixing your oats with milk instead of water will also pack a bit more nutrients into your child’s bowl. Serve these topped with diced strawberries, bananas, or your child’s favorite raw fruit.
SUMMARYOatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse and offers an easy-to-swallow texture, which is helpful as your child develops the skills for proper chewing. Opt for homemade oatmeal over packets to limit added sugar, or try overnight oats.
Pancakes are popular among kids, and whole grains are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Thus, whole grain pancakes are a natural solution to what to serve your 1-year-old .
Whole grain pancakes deliver gut-friendly prebiotics, which help feed beneficial gut bacteria. They’re also finger-friendly when cut into bite-sized pieces .
Whip these up or buy a mix with 100% whole grains. After sizzling them on a skillet or griddle, top them with freshly sliced soft fruits, applesauce, or a drizzle of honey.
You can even smear a very thin layer of creamy nut butter to add extra protein. Although, given that tree nuts are a common allergen, be sure to introduce this food into their diet slowly.
SUMMARYWhole grain pancakes are a practical and healthy choice for your 1-year-old. Whip up your own mix or buy a premade 100% whole grain mix. Top them with your child’s favorite soft fruit, a thin layer of nut butter, or a drizzle of honey.
Eggs are a powerhouse food for kids and adults alike.
They support eye health and proper brain development, and they’re rich in protein, healthy fats, and a host of other nutrients.
Scramble them or serve them hard-boiled and peeled. Be sure to cut either of these into bite-sized pieces, especially as your toddler endeavors to self-feed.
Note that eggs are among the eight most common allergy-causing foods for children. Most children outgrow the allergy, but it’s important to watch for symptoms, which can include hives, nasal congestion, digestive issues, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Eggs can but rarely cause anaphylaxis, a severe life threatening reaction that can constrict airways or cause lightheadedness or loss of consciousness. Speak with a pediatrician if you are concerned about an egg allergy .
SUMMARYEggs are excellent for toddlers and adults alike. They’re particularly supportive of eye health and proper brain development. Plus, they boast an impressive nutritional profile and can be part of a healthy meal or snack.
Tofu is a great source of iron, calcium, and protein — with firm tofu boasting the greatest concentrations.
A 2-ounce (56-gram) portion of firm tofu provides almost 1 mg of iron, or nearly 14% of the DV for your child. The same serving also provides 12% of their daily calcium needs.
Served sweet or savory, tofu is wonderfully versatile. Silken tofu can be blended into smoothies or mashed into bananas, avocado, or cottage cheese. Its flavor is neutral, so all this will do is provide some hearty nutrition.
Toss cubed firm tofu into soups, or stir-fry it with your favorite gentle seasonings. You can also break firm tofu up with your hands and scramble it with your favorite soft vegetables, such as diced bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions.
If your child has a diagnosed soy allergy, you want to avoid tofu. If this allergy runs in your family, you should speak with your pediatrician.
SUMMARYTofu, whether silken or firm, is packed with iron, calcium, and protein. It is wonderfully versatile and can accompany sweet or savory dishes. Add silken tofu to smoothies or scramble firm tofu with soft veggies.
Soft bits of chicken or ground turkey can be great ways to incorporate more protein into your child’s diet. This nutrient is needed for proper growth.
Begin by feeding them puréed chicken, turkey, or soft cuts of meat. Poach the protein first, then add milk, broth, or yogurt to soften this mix in the blender or food processor. As they get more comfortable with self-feeding, sauté ground meat or cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
Avoid any tough or stringy cuts of meat, as these might be too difficult for your child to chew or swallow. Also, steer clear of spicy or strong seasonings, which might upset their gentle stomachs.
SUMMARYSofter cuts of meat like chicken or turkey can be a fountain of protein for your growing tot. Feed them puréed poached meats. As they get better at chewing, sauté ground or small bite-sized pieces. Avoid strong flavors.
Avocados are a fantastic food to feed your 1-year-old. Their creamy texture is especially helpful during this transitional period, while their impressive nutritional profile supports your child’s growth.
What’s more, 30–40% of your toddler’s calories should come from fat, according to the American Heart Association.
Avocados are packed with healthy fats, which benefit your child’s brain and heart. Half a cup (75 grams) of diced, raw avocado provides nearly 9 grams of healthy unsaturated fats.
Cube or mash them and smear them on whole grain toast or a cracker. Experiment with blending avocado with other soft-textured fruits and vegetables, such as cooked butternut squash or sweet potato.
SUMMARYAvocados pack healthy fats and fiber while providing an ideal transitional texture for your toddler. Cube or mash them or blend them with other favorite fruits and veggies.
As your tyke weans off breast milk or formula, they need to hydrate. Water is an optimal choice. Fill up their sippy cups and replenish as often as they need.
Your 1-year-old should be getting at least one 8-ounce glass (237 ml) of water a day. They may need more if they’re active, ill, or in hot temperatures. Also, they will need more as they get older.
When in doubt, check their diapers — they should be urinating at least every 6 hours.
SUMMARYWater should be provided as your tyke weans off breast milk or formula. At this age, they should get at least 1 cup (237 ml) each day.
Steaming vegetables, such as broccoli, peas, and carrots, is an excellent way to introduce your child to this important food group.
Broccoli, carrots, and peas pack fiber and vitamin C. What’s more, carrots contain lutein, which supports eye health, while peas pack muscle-building proteins .
Venture out with other veggies, including steamed parsnips, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash, too. Serve these with a lemony yogurt dip or hummus.
You’ll want to hold off on serving any of these raw, as they’re still too tough to chew.
SUMMARYSteaming veggies softens them to an ideal texture for your growing tot. Broccoli, carrots, and peas are great choices, but feel free to venture out.
Half a cup (130 grams) of mashed beans provides nearly 39% of the DV for iron for your child.
Mashed beans — whether they’re black, kidney, or white beans — are a rich source of iron, which your child needs to keep their blood cells healthy.
Serving these alongside a food high in vitamin C, such as broccoli, diced tomatoes, or mashed sweet potatoes, will help them absorb iron much more efficiently .
This iron and vitamin C combo is especially important if your toddler doesn’t eat meat, as the body absorbs heme iron from animal sources more efficiently than nonheme iron from plant sources.
SUMMARYMashed beans boast impressive nutrients, including iron. This is especially important for your child’s health and helps keep their blood cells healthy. Eat beans with vitamin-C-rich foods to help boost iron absorption.
Hummus blends chickpeas and sesame butter, which pair to provide a bounty of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Spread hummus on some whole grain crackers or serve it alongside your child’s favorite protein source, a piece of cheese, or steamed veggie.
There are great store-bought options, but if you’re feeling inspired, this is an easy one to whip up. Simply combine a bit of garlic, sesame butter (tahini), chickpeas, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth.
Still, keep in mind that sesame seeds, which are used to make sesame butter, are among the top 10 most common food allergens, accounting for 17% of food allergies in children. Only 20–30% of affected kids outgrow it .
For this reason, be sure to introduce this and other sesame-containing foods to your child in very small amounts and watch for common reactions like hives and vomiting.
SUMMARYHummus is a great food to introduce at this age, as it provides a bounty of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
Toddlers can eat the same foods that their family members eat, though it may be necessary to modify some foods to make them easier and safer to eat.
Children may need to try a food many times before they like it. Parents and caregivers should never force a food, and never punish children, but continue offering a wide variety of nourishing options.
Some toddler-friendly foods to consider include:
- Fruits: Avocados, bananas, oranges, berries, mangoes, and other fruits are great choices. It is important to cut berries, grapes, or hard fruits into small pieces.
- Vegetables: Toddlers can enjoy all of the same vegetables as adults, so parents and caregivers can introduce new ones on an ongoing basis. Some toddlers enjoy baby food purees that include both vegetables and fruits, providing a sweet taste.
- Protein: Toddlers can eat bits of meat in baby-sized bites. They may also enjoy other proteins, such as lentils, beans, or tofu.
- Grains: Grains such as oatmeal offer healthful fiber that can prevent constipation.
There is no need to disguise food, add sugar to it, or try to make it taste better in other ways. Children learn to eat the things that parents or caregivers give them.
Toddlers respond to texture and shape changes. If a child dislikes a specific fruit, try cutting it into different shapes, arranging it into a smiley face, or offering it in a smoothie. Make food fun and creative, and do not try to control how much the child eats.
Eat together at mealtimes, and offer the toddler the same foods as the rest of the family rather than creating special toddler meals. Offer the child something that they like and be willing to give them a second portion if they indicate that they want more.
Where possible, it is best to develop an eating schedule and stick with it. Although toddlers should not have unhealthful snacks, such as cookies, with no nutritional value, they may need several healthful snacks throughout the day, particularly during a growth spurt.
The schedule only applies to foods, as it is important to give children water whenever they indicate that they want some.
Snag this awesome list of food for 1 year olds to toddlers, and the 9, 10, and 11 month old babies in between learning to eat table and finger foods. Includes a free printable list too!
Wondering what types of food to feed give your baby or 1 year old? As a pediatric occupational therapist and mom, I’ve got your covered. You’ll find that most of the ideas I am sharing are for babies 10 months and up, but it really depends on how well your baby or toddler is chewing foods. You could be introducing these a little earlier or later.
In general, these are perfect foods for 1 year olds and those a little younger!
Wait, I’m worried about my baby or toddler choking on solid food!
If you’re worried about your baby choking make sure you check out our guide on baby gagging. Understandably, this is a common concern. Keep in mind that gagging and choking are two different things. It’s quite common for babies and toddlers to gag occasionally.
If your baby or toddler gags a lot with new foods they might be getting used to the texture. Or, they may need help learning to chew.
However, if it’s happening a lot you’ll want to talk to your doctor and for sure head to that guide. This is something I’ve seen a lot as an OT and the sooner you address it the better.
Of course, any concerns at all about your child’s eating or variety of foods should be brought up with your child’s pediatrician.
And, if you’re wondering when you should first serve the ever popular crunchy breakfast cereal, Cheerios, then head to When Can Babies Eat Cheerios.
Are these Food Appropriate for My Baby or Toddler?
These guidelines are based on my experience as a licensed occupational therapist and the 17 years of experience working with hundreds of families. The suggestions are also in alignment with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations.
If your baby hasn’t started eating table foods yet or is CONSISTENTLY REFUSING THEM and they’re 9 months old or older then please go to this article first for a step by step guide: how to transition to table foods.
To be honest, I wanted to have a resource for myself, since Isaac (10 months old) is right in the middle of this transition and I am struggling to make sure he has enough variety.
I do have to admit that Isaac isn’t (hmm, need to choose my words carefully here,) the best eater.
He chews and manages food very well, but unless the texture isn’t right, he isn’t very interested. Of course, this is very frustrating! To make sure I optimize my chances at success (aka: he actually eats something other than Gerber Puffs or Cheerios), I need a go to a list with all of my ideas (plus some new ones), so I am not scrambling in the craziness of meal prep.
If you’re in the same boat, check out our free workshop to help your toddler learn to eat a wider variety of foods.
The list is organized into three categories:
When putting together meals, plan for at least one food in each of these three groups. Also, keep in mind that if you mash up a casserole or lasagna, all three categories may be covered in one shot. For example, with the lasagna: spaghetti sauce= protein, noodles= carbs, and meat or cheese= protein.
Tips for Feeding Table Foods to Babies
- Make sure everything you give your baby for the first time is closely monitored. Chew a small piece in your mouth first and pay attention to how hard it is to chew. If it doesn’t break down easily and quickly, it probably isn’t a good choice.
- Stay calm if your baby coughs or chokes a little, it will happen. If you freak out, they will freak out. If they are coughing or choking on a food frequently, stop giving it to them and re-introduce at a later date.
- Cut food into small pieces so they can chew it easily. Cut beans in half and make sure meats are soft and moist. Help your baby with foods that are difficult to pick up, don’t make the pieces bigger until you are sure they can manage them.
- This is a list of table foods, not necessarily finger foods, although many of them are. For example, spread hummus on crackers or serve cottage cheese.
- Have your baby or toddler eat with the rest of the family. It’s the best way for them to see other’s eating a variety of healthy meals and food groups. They learn so much from watching YOU eat!
- If your baby is under 1 they’ll still be drinking formula or breast milk. You can serve some during the meal in an open cup, straw, or sippy cup. Children at this age typically don’t need fruit juice, but water is a great option. Once a child has their first birthday they can be transitioned to cow’s milk.
- At every meal offer a fruit or vegetable, carb, and protein for a balanced meal. Snacks don’t have to include a protein. Baby food is optional, but by this age focus on moving them towards all table food at a meal.
- Cutting foods into small pieces can be a pain, but offer small pieces that are easy to pick up and small amounts so they aren’t overwhelmed. This also helps prevent choking hazards of overstuffing and too large pieces that they can’t manage. You can also cut food into stick shapes if your child is able to manage that well.
- This suction mat is also my favorite if your using a chair that pulls right up to the table or if your going to a restaurant. Check out the little pocket to catch the food, brilliant. I used this with all three of my kids, and it’s held up amazingly! Seven years of use, not too shabby.
- If you use a high chair, these suction bowls are awesome for trays!
Before we move on, if your baby is 9-10 months old and struggling to eat table foods, be proactive. They can learn to eat with some specific strategies.
Check out the free workshop that will help you get your baby or toddler on the right track: 5 Big Feeding Mistakes That Are Stopping Your Child From Learning to Eat Table Foods Workshop. Includes a free workbook:)
Food Ideas for 10 -11 month and 1 Year Olds
Protein IdeasTofuMeatballs (gluten and dairy free optional with this link)MeatloafCheese shredded from a hand grater (it is thicker and easier to grab this way)TilapiaSalmonChicken (make sure it is softer texture)Homemade mini chicken nuggets (gluten and dairy free option)Turkey (ground or breast/cutlet)Hard-boiled EggScrambled EggHummusBlack BeansCheese SpreadsCottage CheeseRicotta CheeseCrumbled Goat Cheese (or use as a spread)Plain Pulled Pork (make sure it is extra soft)Shreds of Pot Roast (make sure it is extra soft)YogurtTzatziki Sauce (may need to puree if there are large pieces of cucumber in it)
Peanut Butter (now safe to give to babies and toddlers, spread thin or thin out with water)
Olive oil (great healthy fat, drizzle on top of carbs or veggies)
Carb Ideas for Baby and ToddlerToastPlain or Buttered BreadEnglish MuffinBagelCheeriosBarleyCorn Grits/Polenta
Brown RiceShort PastaGraham CrackersTown House CrackersPancakesCrepesWafflesFrench toastTortillaPita
Cream Of Wheat
Fruit and Vegetable Breads (i.e. zucchini, banana, etc.)
Fresh Fruit/Vegetable Ideas for Baby and 1 Year OldPeachesWatermelonPlumMangoBananaAvocadoPotatoSweet PotatoApplesaucePearsPeasCooked Diced ApplesCooked Diced Carrots (great to use pieces from soups)Cooked Diced CeleryPureed Soups (i.e. tomato, butternut squash)Inside of Baked PotatoMashed PotatoMashed Sweet PotatoBroccoli (make sure this is extra soft)Cauliflower (make sure this is extra soft)Puree Fruits and use as a spreadButternut SquashZucchiniStrawberriesBlackberriesBlueberriesRaspberries (many babies will find these too tart, but still give it a try)
Spinach (use in casseroles or foods you are mashing up)*If your baby is struggling with the taste or texture of fresh fruits you can also try freeze dried varieties. They’re also great as quick health snack while you’re traveling.
Baby Meal PlansBelow, I am outlining some various meal plans, just to give you some ideas. Many of the meals would suit a toddler or big kid as well. Again, depending on how your child is managing foods, you may need to dice or mash foods more. I would encourage you to think of what you are eating and if you could modify it for your baby. Ideally, you want your baby (soon to be toddler) to be eating what you are eating.This may mean some planning ahead.Mash up or chop what you are eating into small pieces. Once you get into this frame of mind, you will be surprised to think of all the foods your baby can enjoy, too!Also, I try to vary textures at each meal. Meaning, I want one kind of food that needs to be eaten from a spoon and at least one that is finger-fed. It doesn’t always work out this way, but that’s the goal, especially as they are transitioning off of all pureed foods.
Breakfast Ideas for 10 -11 Month and 1 Year Olds
- English muffin with cream cheese and chopped strawberries
- Cottage cheese (depending on age, may need to chop coarsely in food processor), diced pear, and graham crackers
- Diced hard-boiled egg, diced toast with butter, and applesauce
- Cream Of Wheat with pureed berries and plain whole milk yogurt (yes, mix this all together)
- Pumpkin waffles and diced banana
Check out toddler breakfast ideas for more inspiration.
Lunch Ideas for 10-11 month and 1 year Olds
- Tortilla folded in half (quesadilla style) with a little melted cheese inside and mashed avocado
- No sugar added applesauce, zucchini bread, and shredded mozzarella pieces
- Tomato soup with black beans and blueberry cornbread
- Hummus spread on pita with diced fruit salad (or whatever fruit you have on hand)
- Shreds of pot roast in tzatziki sauce and pureed mango-banana sauce (blend pieces of mango and banana together, leaving it a little chunky)
Head over to toddler lunches for 17 more easy and healthy ideas perfect for 1 and 2 year olds!
Dinner Ideas for 10-11 Month and 1 Year Olds
- Ricotta or cottage cheese, spaghetti sauce, spinach, and whole wheat noodles chopped coarsely through a blender or food processor. Also, give some pieces of noodles to finger feed
- Tilapia, steamed and slightly overcooked broccoli, and polenta
- Meatballs, barley, and diced carrots
- Mashed sweet potatoes, tender turkey breast or cutlet, and pieces of buttered bread
- Canned salmon (I always use wild Alaskan), quinoa, and diced apples/butternut squash