Here are Practical Foods for 1-Year-Old Child
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.
Bananas, peaches, and other soft fruits
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.
Yogurt and milk
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