How to Cook for a One-Year-Old Baby

A 1-year-old is ready to consume most of his calories from solid food, as opposed to breast milk or formula. According to the World Health Organization, it is best for babies to continue nursing through the second year of life while eating nutritious, age-appropriate foods.

Toddlers are notoriously picky and are still restricted from eating certain foods. If food allergies run in your family or if you have any other concerns about your 1-year-old's eating habits, discuss them with your pediatrician.

Cook foods in healthful ways. The website Ask Dr. Sears suggests broiling and baking foods rather than frying, and steaming vegetables rather than boiling. Because your toddler eats only small amounts of food at one sitting, offer him food that is prepared in ways that do not add extra fat and that retain as many vitamins and nutrients as possible.

Cook soft meat for your 1-year-old. If you are serving the rest of the family a stringy or tough cut of meat, prepare something else for your toddler. Good choices for soft meats include chicken, pork tenderloin and a slow-cooked pot roast. Leave spicy or strong seasonings off of your child's portion when cooking.

Include steamed or raw vegetables and fruits with each meal. Ask Dr. Sears suggests steamed broccoli florets, thinly sliced cooked carrots, thin slices of peeled raw apple, round slices of banana and chunks of avocado.

Serve your 1-year-old whole milk products. According to, children under the age of 2 require the fat that whole milk offers for optimal growth and brain development. states that toddlers need 16 to 20 ounces of milk per day, so offer milk at each meal.

Include servings of whole grains. Offer iron-fortified cereals to help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, recommends Whole grain crackers and wheat bread are nutritious carbohydrates to serve your toddler.

Give your child only about a tablespoon of each type of food at a time, and offer her more if she is still hungry. Larger amounts might overwhelm her and prompt her to start playing with her food. Ask Dr. Sears recommends allowing your 1-year-old to graze on snacks throughout the day instead of expecting her to eat three full meals. Cut up healthful foods and allow her to choose what she wants from the selection whenever she is hungry.


Don't worry if your 1-year-old does not eat much. Ask Dr. Sears explains that toddlers grow much more slowly than infants, and their need for large amounts of food decreases during the second year of life. Simply continue offering healthful foods and allow your child to decide what he will eat, and in what quantity.


Avoid foods that pose choking hazards. Do not give 1-year-olds raw carrots, hard candy, raisins, hot dog chunks or whole grapes. Cut any round foods in half or quarters, and do not offer hard, sticky foods.
Ask your child's pediatrician which foods to avoid to prevent food allergies. Depending on your family history, you may need to wait before offering your young toddler shellfish, strawberries, nuts or other allergenic foods.