Is My One-year-old Eating Enough?

by Dr. Jennifer Brannon

If it seems like your one-year-old’s eating habits have taken a nosedive after his first birthday, you are noticing something that many people have experienced.  This is very common due to his decreasing growth rate.  Since he is not growing nearly as fast anymore, he doesn’t need quite as many calories each day.

Your little one will still need 3 meals per day, as well as 2 snacks.  He still needs foods from all food groups. Keep introducing him to new foods every few days, and don’t be disheartened if he refuses to eat new things at first. One-year-olds tend to start developing their own likes and dislikes, so they may be pickier at mealtimes. It may take at least 10 tries of something new for him to develop a taste for a new food.

Continue to make sure your little one eats while seated and supervised. Don’t start allowing them to graze while playing or walking around – this can be a very hard habit to break later on. The best way to accomplish this is to sit down with him to eat as a family. (Remember his serving size is much smaller than a serving size for an adult.)

It is fine to keep feeding him some baby food and pureed food from your meals, but he will be able to start eating more solid foods, too. Don’t forget to cut up foods for him. Things like carrots and hotdogs should be quartered lengthwise and then cut up. Other foods like grapes, cherry tomatoes, and marshmallows should also be cut up. Don’t give him peanuts or popcorn yet as these can be choking hazards. The airway he breathes through is about as big around as his pinky, and anything larger can be a choking hazard.

Limit sugary snacks and do not give him more than 2 eight-ounce cups of whole milk per day.  If he drinks more than this, he will be filling up on milk and missing out on vitamins and calories from other foods.

If you are suffering from nutrition insecurity and are worried you don’t have enough money to buy food to eat, please contact your local food bank, church, or United Way. Talk to your doctor to see if they have other ideas about how to have enough to eat.

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