There is a strong argument for exclusively breastfeeding children for at least 18 months, but for most parents, the weaning process happens much earlier. Whether you are breastfeeding, formula feeding, or some combination, when you choose to start solid foods, remember this is your one chance to do it right.
As children move out of the infant stage and into the older baby stage, they begin to require a heftier nutritional requirement. This nutritional need can be met with breastmilk, but some mamas find it's just not enough for that hungry monster. One-year-olds can be introduced to a variety of fruits and veggies as soon as you feel it's time. Don't let anybody decide for you. You will know when you need to supplement breastmilk with solid foods. Here you will find an exceptional guide to feeding your one year old, as well as the important nutritional requirements he/she needs to grow up healthy.
At the age of one, your baby will need about 1,000 calories each day (Source 1). There is no need to jot down everything that they eat, but it is important to mentally note what your child is eating. Children around this age become very busy and active and they will avoid eating in order to have a great time, so make sure that you have snacks prepared and available to them.
The Nutritional Plate
Again, it is not the calorie count that matters, it is the fare that you are feeding your child. Toddlers can eat up to 4–5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 servings of whole grains, 3 servings of milk(breastmilk or formula), and 3 servings of lean protein (Source 2). Seems simple, but as mothers, we know that this is a task; if your toddler is not the avid muncher, make an effort to offer the food to him, and eventually, some day, he will eat. Let’s examine each of the aforementioned food groups.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the most important component of the toddlers day and should be readily available in bite-sized portions. A portion for a toddler is the size of her palm. Most toddlers enjoy eating bananas, pears, strawberries, carrots, peas, sweet potato, and broccoli. Chopping them up is wise. Serve two at a time and allow your child to make choices, which will encourage her to eat more too. Children prefer fruits over vegetables, so it may be wise to get smart and add vegetables to baked muffins and pancakes until they warm up to the flavors of vegetables.
The USDA insists that we eat pounds of “whole grains” throughout the day: wheat, oats, rice, chia, quinoa, and a new others. And even then, they are not at every meal…and not every day.
Whole grains pack a nutritional punch for your toddler since they are full of protein, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates. However, don’t let whole grains become the prominent feature food for your child because it is not adequate nutrition. A serving of whole grains for a toddler is 1/4 cup oats, quinoa, or rice. If you do use bread, half a slice will do.
Dairy is considered a food group, but what it should say is Milk since there are so many toddlers who are still breastfeeding or do not consume cow’s milk. Your toddler should be drinking 24 ounces of milk each day to provide essential vitamins, calcium, and protein needed for healthy growth (Source 1). However, if your toddler is breastfeeding, he may be consuming more milk until he is ready to eat more solid foods. This is perfectly normal. If your child drinks soy milk, double check to make sure that it is fortified with all of the B vitamins.
Lean proteins are designed to help your toddler’s cells repair and grow, this they are essential in the diet of all toddlers. Lean proteins include soy protein, chicken breast, fatty fish, turkey, and lean ground beef. A serving of lean protein is 2 tbsp. Avoid feeding your toddler junk food like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and hamburgers, as they will do nothing for your child’s good health.
Now that you have all of this information, you are probably sitting there thinking, “okay, but what do I feed her?”.
Below is a sample menu to help you get your toddler on the right track to a life of wholesome nutrition: