I love to hear what people are feeding their littles. It puts a fresh perspective on a day-in-day-out chore. For those who find it helpful, I’ve jotted down a list of 18 healthy foods my one-year old likes.
NOTE: Always check with your pediatrician before starting new foods for your baby!
Feeding my third has been a joy. I’ve been in tune with her cues and following her lead, even though her eating journey isn’t at all “by the book”. She has always been an enthusiastic but very (VERY) light eater (and heavy nurser!) Only recently has she started eating any significant amount of solid food.
Over the past few months I have made it my job to offer her many flavors and textures with no agenda. And the best thing? Feeding her has almost been an afterthought. I’ve focused on making healthy food for my family and just feeding her bits of what we are eating. Or, if we’re eating something I don’t want her to have, I’ll think on the fly and get something on her tray. Her job is to decide the quantity.
She eats with her high chair and tray pushed up to the family table. Sometimes I’ll extend her time in the chair by offering her a spoon preloaded with a little coconut oil or peanut butter so I can do the dishes (more on that below).
And the food I’m not giving her til she’s 5? …………
Chocolate! I know, I know. Dark chocolate is a health food – full of magnesium, antioxidants and such. In fact I just wrote up a recipe for Therapeutic Hot Chocolate. And honestly, I’m not basing this on any scientific evidence whatsoever. It’s just a Russian old-wives’ tale that you shouldn’t give your kids chocolate until they are five. And for some reason it’s stuck with me! Maybe it’s the small amount of caffeine, or the strong flavor, or other chemical components of chocolate, but I’m going with it. (I stick with this loosely though – I’m fine with her having a taste, but not a stack of double chocolate pancakes, you know?)
18 HEALTHY FOODS MY 1-YR OLD LIKES
We are not doing baby-led weaning so I cut everything into manageable pieces to minimize choking risk.
Coconut oil is great for the gut and immune system due to a component that is also found in breast milk – lauric acid, a healthier saturated fat. Her pediatrician gives her own children coconut oil and said it’s ok to offer her up to a teaspoonful every day. I usually stick to 1/2 teaspoon at the end of a meal for a treat. I just preload it onto a spoon so she gets some practice eating with utensils.
You can read more about the benefits of coconut oil here.
Having read the results of the Leap Study which tested how early exposure to peanuts impacts the development of allergies, I decided to expose my baby to peanuts from an early age. I ate them in moderation while pregnant and nursing (as well as other tree nuts) and got the ok from our pediatrician to introduce nut butters as soon as we started solids (but not before 6 months). This is something you should definitely read about and talk about with your pediatrician! Same thing – I offer it on a preloaded spoon as a treat. We joke that it’s a baby Kong.
I started offering her small spoonfuls of soft-boiled, partly set, yet spoonable egg yolks (from pastured, washed eggs) as one of her first foods. Technically this would be considered an undercooked yolk, but I felt ok about it – but just know this is not normally recommended. Egg yolk is a good source of choline, which is great for so many things, including mental health.
Now she eats bits of scrambled eggs or omelets. We season them with pink sea salt and pepper. No need to shy away from normal amounts of good salt in home-cooked foods! We use pink Himalayan sea salt or Real Salt, with all minerals intact.
Friendly reminder – babies like “weird” food so go for it!
Sardines are loaded with DHA – a fatty acid that is huge for brain health, as well as calcium and protein. I like Wild Planet brand the best. They are only lightly smoked and salted and are packed in extra virgin olive oil. We get them at Costco but they are widely available.
Babies generally love smoked salmon. It’s soft, a little salty and so healthy! I buy wild salmon and serve a small amount with white potatoes or another unsalty food on the side. I also make sure to offer her water afterwards or during her meal.
Dark meat chicken
Small bits of dark meat chicken, such as drumstick meat, are soft enough for my baby to chew even though she doesn’t have many teeth. She seems to love the flavor.
Bone broth or chicken broth
Pink lentil soup (easy!)
I try to always have pink lentils on hand because they cook up so fast! I just saute some diced onion, carrot and celery until they are soft, add 1/2 cup or so of rinsed lentils and two cups of broth and simmer until the lentils are soft. I salt it lightly to taste, then she and I have a great lunch together! I pureed it when she was little. Now she likes it as is.
I buy Bubbie’s sauerkraut from the refrigerated section. It is lacto-fermented (which has nothing to do with milk, but lactic acid) so it contains beneficial bacteria for a healthy gut. My babe shuns yogurt so this is a great probiotic-rich food for her. Since it’s so salty I only give her a small spoonful every day.
She loves this! Homemade is best (and this is my favorite way to do it), but I’ve bought some from Costco in a pinch. I’ll also put it on potatoes, veggies or chicken.
Soft fruits like peaches, bananas, melon
Bits of dry or dehydrated fruit
Occasionally she likes bit of dried fruit, such as raisins or dates but I think they are a little too sweet for her palate. She really likes dehydrated (think light and crispy, not chewy dried) mango because it has a tart flavor she enjoys and is easy to eat.
Frozen, thawed berries
She far prefers frozen, thawed wild blueberries to fresh. Probably so that she can make a big mess and transform herself into a blueberry monster. I also give her raspberries (fresh or frozen/thawed).
This is a baby staple! Just pull the reins in if they are experiencing constipation.
Very flavorful vegetables
While she does love the occasional plain steamed carrot pieces, she will eat way more veggies if they are full of flavor. For instance, she totally rejected zucchini, until one day I sauteed it with garlic, onion and a tomato. She went to town on it! Add healthy salt (see “eggs” above for links) and butter or other good fats to vegetables to make them flavorful.
Beets (sort of)
OK, she doesn’t love beets but I’m putting this in here to shed some light on introducing new foods. Did you know that you sometimes have to offer a food 15-20 times before they take the bait? She usually ignores beets, but the other day she ate a small piece or two so I’m hopeful. Beets are full of betaine and are particularly good for my family’s genetic makeup. Read more about betaine here.
This is such an easy thing to take on the go and baby loves them! My 7-year old is also obsessed with seaweed snacks so they can share a pack. I just tear tiny pieces off and put them straight into my baby’s mouth. This brand, sold on Amazon, are priced well at a little over $1 each (when buying a 12-pack). I also buy them from Costco.
Our local Sprouts sells Flax4life products and I’ve found them to be a great thing to have on hand! I just warm up a muffin and spread on some Kerrygold butter and give her a few bites. They are definitely not an everyday food as flax is pretty intense on the digestive system and can have an impact on hormones. But they are a healthy snack in moderation, especially when a little help is needed to “get things moving”!
Would love to hear what you are feeding your baby or toddler these days!
Photo credit: Marco Verch