As your little one grows from an infant to a toddler, his dietary needs change – and so might his pickiness or tolerance for certain foods. According to HealthyChildren.org, the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, feeding a 1-year-old is an exercise in patience. While he might be a champion eater one day, the next day he might refuse everything in sight. Continue to offer nutritious foods in appropriate portions, and speak to your pediatrician if you're worried about your children's eating habits or growth.
Basic Feeding Guidelines
A 1-year-old needs approximately 1,000 calories per day, says HealthyChildren.org, made up of the same foods groups as you eat. Fat is particularly important at this age, even if you're concerned about childhood obesity, and about half of your child's calories should come from fat for normal growth and development. Even if you're still nursing, your child can now consume most of the same foods that the rest of your family eats; however, you should still take a few precautions, particularly when it comes to the size of the foods you feed him. The choking risk is still very real at this age, so everything should be cut into small, easily chewable pieces or mashed, and your 1-year-old should be supervised when eating.
When planning your 1-year-old's meals, including breakfast, offer up a variety of foods so she gets a wide selection of vitamins and minerals. Potential menu options for your little one include one cooked egg – make sure it cools before you serve it so she doesn't burn her mouth – paired with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of whole milk, plus half a sliced banana and two large sliced strawberries. Instead of the egg, you could serve 1/2 cup of iron-fortified breakfast cereal topped with whole milk.
For the midday meal, offer your 1-year-old a half-sandwich made with sliced turkey or chicken, and then pair it with 1/2 cup of green vegetables, cooked to reduce choking risk. Add 1/2 cup of whole milk to drink. Other lunch suggestions from the Vermont Department of Health include a serving of vegetable soup or a "pizza" made from an English muffin topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. At this age, there's still a risk of discovering food allergies, so continue to watch for reactions after offering a new food to your child.
Divvying Up Dinner
To make things easier on yourself, you can often offer your little one the same food that you or the family is eating, just in smaller portions. A potential dinner could be 2 to 3 ounces of ground or diced cooked meat, 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, 1/2 cup of starch such as pasta, rice or potato and 1/2 cup of whole milk. Offer new vegetables, such as pieces of sweet potato, mashed squash, creamed spinach or cooked beets. If your child clamors for more milk, be cautious; according to KidsHealth, you should limit your child's milk consumption to 16 to 24 ounces a day to help prevent iron deficiency, a risk at 1 year of age.
Snacks and Liquids
The 1,000 calories that your 1-year-old needs should be divided into three meals and two snacks, says HealthyChildren.org. Snack options include a slice of toast with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese or butter, yogurt with diced fruit and 1 to 2 ounces of cubed or string cheese. You can offer water in between meals or whole milk, being sure to watch overall consumption. While you might continue to nurse, at 1 year, whole milk can replace breast milk or formula, says MedlinePlus.