When my 1 year old started eating real food, I had no idea what to feed her! In fact, I fed her green beans so much that she ended up refusing to eat them.
I definitely needed more food ideas that were toddler friendly!
At the time, I also stressed about wether or not she was eating a balanced diet. I didn’t want her to only eat chicken nuggets and mac n’ cheese.
After feeling lost for way too long, I finally came up with a simple way to make sure she was eating a healthy variety of foods she could actually eat with few teeth.
My answer was to keep a list of food ideas to refer to whenever I planned his meals.
With my list of foods, my mind never had to go blank. I simply referred to my list for ideas!
In this post, I’m sharing as many ideas as I could come up with by dividing the food into types of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and food categories:
When you create a meal for your toddler, simply choose a food item from 3-4 different categories to create a balanced diet for your 1 year old.
What can 1 year olds eat?
You would be surprised what a 1 year old can actually eat! I thought there wasn’t much he could have because he didn’t have many teeth.
However, your 1 year old will be able to mush soft food with their gums. The most important thing to remember is that 1 year olds need small, soft food.
The food you serve them should not be a choking hazard. When in doubt serve your child’s food in small bite size pieces.
As long as you avoid hard food, round food, your 1 year old should be fine eating much of the same food you and the rest of your family eat.
Also, you’ll want to avoid foods that are high in sugar with little or no nutrition. Many of the packaged snack foods that are geared towards children are so bad for them.
Stay away from a lot of the packaged foods like gummies, puffs, crackers, and poptarts that are full of sugar.
However, if you stick with fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein, you will insure a well balanced diet for your 1 year old.
PLEASE NOTE: Many of the foods listed should be cooked to a soft consistency and cut into bite size pieces. Check with your pediatrician first.
Food Ideas for 1 Year Old
Breakfast ideas for 1 year old:
You can make ahead and freeze things like muffins, quick breads, mini quiches, pancakes, waffles, bacon, and sausage.
Just pull the food out of the freezer the night before and put it in the refrigerator. It will be thawed the next morning and ready to serve to your 1 year old.
We also like to have canned and frozen vegetables and fruit on hand. That way there is always something healthy available to eat. And they take very little if any preparation.
Frozen vegetables can be heated up in the microwave or on the stove top in less than 10 minutes.
If you use frozen fruit, you’ll want to set it out earlier in the day or in the fridge to allow it to thaw completely. Of course, you never want to serve frozen fruit to a toddler as it may be a choking hazard.
Alright, now let’s get into the breakfast ideas!
Breakfast Starch Ideas:
- waffles (with PB or peanut substitute)
- toast (with PB or substitute, avocado, or jelly)
- baked bread (pumpkin, banana)
- muffin (pumkin, blueberry, banana, carrot)
- oatmeal (add cinnamon, brown sugar, honey, fresh fruit, or dried fruit)
- Nutrigrain or breakfast bar
- mini bagel
- cinnamon, raisin bread
Breakfast Protein Ideas:
- scrambled egg
- fried egg
- hard boiled egg
- sausage links or patties
- mini quiche cups
- turkey bacon
- Peanut butter, sunbutter, almond butter on toast or waffle
Breakfast Fruit Ideas:
- apple slices
- mandarin oranges
- pear slices
- grapes (cut in 1/4)
Breakfast Dairy Ideas:
- cream cheese
- yogurt cup
- cup of milk
Lunch ideas for 1 year olds:
Your 1 year old can eat the same things you eat for lunch or at least a variation of what you have. That way you don’t have to prepare two completely separate meals.
For example, if were having a big salad with cooked chicken and veggie on it, I’d serve my 1 year old pieces of the salad.
I’d cut up some of the chicken into small pieces, cut up the cucumber slices and also give hime some shredded cheese.
Lunch Starch Ideas:
- Pasta (spaghetti, mac n’ cheese)
- potato (mashed, baked, roasted, boiled)
- “pinwheel” – a rolled up wrap that has been sliced
Lunch Fruit Ideas:
The fruit ideas will need to be cut up small into bite size pieces. Grapes especially are a choking hazard. I like to cut them into 4ths.
Some fruits may also need to be peeled.
- mandarin oranges
- pineapple (cut small)
- grapes (cut into ¼ pieces)
- peeled apple slices
Lunch Vegetable Ideas:
Vegetables can be a chocking hazard. Many of the vegetables should be cooked until they are soft. cucumber slices should be cut up very small in tiny bite size pieces.
- green beans
- sweet potato fries or slices
- cucumbers cut up small
Lunch Protein Ideas:
- black beans
- baked beans
- cooked and shredded meat
- lunch meat
- chicken nuggets/tenders
- fish sticks
Lunch Dairy Ideas:
- cottage cheese
- glass of milk
- cheese slices
You don’t have to make a completely different dinner for your toddler than what every one else is eating. Usually, your toddler can eat whatever you are serving the rest of the family.
Just make sure it is cut up into bite size pieces and your toddler can easily chew the food. Then simply add a fruit and vegetable to balance out the meal.
- BBQ meatballs
- rice Dishes (add protein and veggie altogether)
- shredded, soft meat – chicken, pulled pork, fish
- chicken pot pie
- stew or soup (depending on toddlers ability to eat)
I hope all of these ideas have been helpful! If you’d like to see how these foods can be mixed together to create a meal plan, here are meal ideas for 1 year olds.
As you plan out what to feed your 1 year old, it’s best to refer to a list of ideas. Otherwise your mind goes blank and you end up getting into a meal time rut!
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