What to feed a one-year-old . . .

By Drum Digital
13 May 2014

One of the SuperMoms in our Facebook community recently asked for help feeding her one-year-old baby boy. She specifically wanted advice on how much milk to give him. Here’s help and an easy eating plan.

General guidelines when feeding one-year-olds

  • It’s important to remember babies need six small meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a snack in the morning, afternoon and before bedtime.
  • Your child can now eat a wide range of foods. Give them a balanced diet that includes bread, cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruit, dairy, meat and poultry.
  • One-year-olds are becoming independent and want to feed themselves. Even though it’s messy, it’s important to give babies the opportunity to develop the skill of feeding themselves.
  • This is a great time for learning and exploring. Give them a variety of foods. Some foods won’t be well accepted until your child tastes them several times (sometimes 10-20 times!). So try to be patient.
  • Give solids first before fluids.
  • Water is the best drink for children. Avoid fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks.
  • Plan regular meal and snack times and allow enough time for your child to eat a meal.
  • Milk can be fed by cup, instead of a bottle.
  • Don’t add sugar and salt to basic foods.
  • If food choices are limited or you have special dietary needs, seek advice from a dietician, child-health nurse or other suitably qualified health professional.

Planning meals

How much food is eaten at this age varies from child to child and from day to day, and is influenced by growth and activity levels. These serving sizes and amounts can be used as a guide to feeding your one- to two-year-old each day:

1. Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles

  • 4 to 6 servings daily

One serving = one slice of bread OR ½ c cereal OR ½ c cooked rice, pasta, noodles

This includes all kinds of wholemeal, wholegrain and white bread cereal, rice, pasta and noodles, and covers crackers, raisin bread, dry biscuits and fruit buns.

2. Vegetables

  • 3 to 5 servings daily

One serving = ¼ c or 2 T of cooked food

  • Encourage your baby to taste and try a wide variety of both raw and cooked vegetables. This is important in helping your baby develop healthy eating habits. Fresh vegetables are best but frozen and canned are also good alternatives. Avoid hard vegetables, such as raw carrot sticks, which may cause choking.

3. Fruits

  • 2 to 4 servings daily

One serving = one small piece of fruit OR ½ c diced fruit

  • Fresh fruit is best but frozen, canned and dried are also good alternatives.

4. Milk, yoghurt and cheese

  • 4 to 6 servings daily

One serving = ½ c or 125 ml of milk or custard OR 100 g tub yoghurt OR 20 g cheese OR cheese slice

  • Children don’t need special yoghurts or custards. Full-cream milk can now be used instead of formula.

5. Meat, fish, poultry and eggs

  • 1 serving daily

One serving = ½ c meat OR 30-50 g or ½ c kidney beans or other legume OR 40–50 g fish OR 1 egg OR 1 T peanut butter

  • Red meat is an excellent source of iron. Try to include it often.

Breast milk and formula feeds

Continue to breastfeed on demand for as long as you and your baby would like to. Breast milk still provides important amounts of protein, energy and immune factors into your baby’s second year.

Serve no more than 700 ml of milk a day by one year of age. This will promote an increase in the amount of food your baby eats. Too much milk and too little food may lead to iron-deficiency anaemia.

Infant tooth decay can occur soon after the first teeth appear, usually between nine months and two years. Frequent sugary drinks can cause severe decay. It’s especially important not to use sugary drinks in bottles. Infant tooth decay is less common in breastfed babies.

Putting cow’s milk on the menu

Cow's milk is probably becoming a big part of your child's diet now that they’ve passed the 12-month mark.

Whole, or full-fat, milk is usually the beverage of choice at this age because toddlers need fat to fuel their growth and their considerable energy needs. You should give your child this until they’re at least two years old.

When drunk in moderate amounts, cow's milk has many of the nutrients a growing toddler needs. Nutritionists recommend one-year-olds drink no more than 350 ml of milk a day. Some toddlers love milk and the challenge for parents is not to go overboard. A child who drinks more than 350 ml may fill up on milk and miss out on other foods that are important for a balanced diet.

At the other extreme are toddlers who turn up their nose at cow's milk, at least at first. After all, it has a different texture, taste and even temperature to breast milk or formula. Parents of reluctant milk drinkers can try mixing whole milk with some breast milk or formula at first. Then slowly increase the amount of milk to 100 per cent.

A sample menu for your little one

The serving sizes below are meant to provide guidelines for the portion size of foods appropriate for a child of one.

  • Breakfast: 1-2 T applesauce, ¼ c Cheerios cereal, ½ c full-fat yoghurt
  • Snack: 14 g cheddar cheese, 4 wheat crackers (no trans fats), ½ c full-cream milk or breast milk
  • Lunch: 28 g roasted chicken, minced, 1 t brown rice and 1-2 t black beans with minced tomatoes and ½ t olive oil, 1 to 2 T cooked yellow peppers, ½ c whole milk or breast milk, ½ banana
  • Snack: ½ slice wholewheat toast with 1 t of nonhydrogenated margarine, 100 g of frozen mango chunks, defrosted, ½ c full-cream milk
  • Dinner: 1 T serving of olives (rinse well and chop), 42 g chicken thigh, minced, 1 to 2 T mashed sweet potato mixed with 1 T of sour cream or full-fat yoghurt or mashed avocado, 1 to 2 T of chopped green beans, ½ c full-cream milk or breast milk

-Janine Nel

Sources: health24.com, pampers.com, www.healthychildren.org, parenting.com

T=tablespoon, t=teaspoon, c=cup

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