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What’s a proper diet for a 1-year-old?
The biggest dietary change that comes with turning 1 is the transition to whole milk, or 2 percent milk if your family has a history of obesity, high cholesterol, or heart disease (which your toddler should drink until she's 2, then you should switch her to 1 percent). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests children get 16 to 32 ounces of milk a day, since the calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. As for solid foods, provided she has no allergies, your toddler can eat basically anything now (just watch out for potential choking hazards like nuts, grapes, popcorn, and hot dogs). However, she'll probably need your help to actually get the food into her mouth, since her spoon skills are still developing (most kids don't get really good at it until around 18 months). Make meals a combination of soft foods your toddler can eat with her hands and foods you spoon in for her. A balanced diet should include fruits and veggies; grains like wheat, rice, and oats; dairy products like yogurt and cheese; and protein from poultry, meat, fish, and eggs. Don't worry about tallying your child's nutritional intake on a daily basis -- you'll go mad. Instead, make sure your toddler is getting a variety of foods in her diet over the course of an average week. Don't worry if your child refuses to eat green vegetables for a few days, for example, or if she doesn't drink enough milk on some days. Children's bodies are remarkably good at getting exactly what they need as long as the right foods are available over time.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.