28 answers

Meals for 1 Year Old

Does anyone have any quick and healthy dinner recipes or ideas for a picky 1 year old? I feel like I keep cycling through the same old thing....grilled cheese, mash potatoes and gravy with meat (his favorite), pasta/mac and cheese (which he doesn't really care for so I don't fix this very often), rice with veggies and turkey or chicken. I want to give him other options instead of the same old thing but I am really at a loss for ideas. Please help!

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Trader Joes sells a whole wheat cous cous that is fast, easy to make, and tasted great- I mix it with a little melted cheese and my 1 year old loves it- I also make it with red sauce, or add it to tomatoe soup or chicken noodle soup. The great thing about it is it is whole grain, has 5 or 6 grams of protein, and good fiber. It is really healthy.

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My girls love Walnut Acres organic Baked Beans. So easy.
That with some string cheese and they're happy. You could even cut up some cooked carrots or any other veggie and mix them in.

Hi K.,

I have an 11 month old and two older children. My quick response is....anything that you are eating! My 11 month old eats off of my plate. Granted she does have all 8 front teeth and has just started working on her molars but she has been eating off of my plate for 2 months or so. She will even eat my raw veggies if they are shredded. Just from looking at what you said you are feeding him, I would up, up, up his veggie/fruit intake. It is so easy, if you start them at this age, for them to have a life long habit of eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits. To this day that is still the first thing my oldest daughter eats off of her plate and I think it has SO much to do with how I fed her as an infant.

Good luck!

More Answers

Having baby eat with the family is a great idea, but it's not practical for us because our 14mo is ready for bed by 6-6:30 p.m., which is earlier than my husband gets home from work. So our little guy always eats dinner separate from us.

Wholesomebabyfood dot com is a great resource for age-appropriate recipes (check their fingerfoods section), as are the books "The Petite Appetite" and "First Meals."

I devote a couple hours once or twice a month to making several recipes and freezing them so that all I have to do is essentially reheat at mealtime and supplement with cooked frozen veggies (as nutritious as fresh), sweet potatoes or winter squash (which I precook and freeze, too). Sometimes, if we have leftovers from our own meals I'll rewarm them for him the next day. Our Seal-a-Meal was a great investment in this process.

My little guy would rather have finger foods than be spoon fed, so I make salmon patties, whole wheat vegetable pancakes, little meat/vegetable loafs (chicken or beef, in mini muffin tins), tilapia (Buy frozen. Thaws and cooks quickly) and no-salt-added, canned vegetable and minestrone soups (Heat, then drain the broth off. Might want to cut kidney beans in half so they're not a choking hazard.). I also make him little vegetable omelettes, with or without cheese, because they cook quickly and he loves them.

We don't have any food intolerances to deal with, so I'm able to feed him a pretty varied menu and I think he's a really good eater because of it. And because I cook ahead and freeze, I'm able to get his dinner ready in 10 minutes, tops.

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Hi,
I just tried this and my 18 month old loves it and can (mostly) feed it to himself because it is so sticky. I cook up some rice (about 2-3 cups), sautee a little onion (1/3 small) and dice up 3 banana size zucchinis and sautee it with the onion once the onion is mostly cooked. Cook until mushy then put in the food processor if you want and mix it with the rice and a big handful of cheese. You can adjust the amounts of each to your liking and it would probably be good with other veggies too. Another good idea ... get a block of firm tofu, wrap in paper towel to get out extra water, cut into good little bite size pieces, sprinkle a generous amount of soy sauce and nutritional yeast on it and let sit (5 min - all day) then sautee up in a little butter until outside edges get cooked look. This is good heated up the next day for snacks too. Kids get so picky around this age it is hard, some days I feel like he eats more crackers than anything else, but I try!

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That sounds tricky. I have a child with sensory issues so he likes things one week but not the next so I sympathize. I got the most interesting response from my doctor. She said babies will eat when they are hungry so make whatever you want, and if they don't eat don't encourage them to be picky by making something else instead. If they eat what you eat the house will be much calmer.
For food ideas I've started grabbing everything in my cupboards and hitting websites. Campbells has some very winning recipes that my kids have LOVED. Thinks like pork in cream of mushroom and rice, or hamburger pie. Progresso has some amazing ideas, and both have recipe forums to ask what is the best choices. Bisquik has great ideas too. Another one is lipton - the onion soup mix makes the BEST pot roast in the world! My kiddos also love the potatoes made with onion soup.
I like the pretending to eat their stuff. Also I demonstrate new foods for them and say very clearly what it is. For the longest time our middle son would not touch meat. The other day I made roast and cut off a bit of it. With him watching I stuck it in my mouth right after I said "meat! roast! yum!" Then I loudly said yum, yum, while I chewed. He had two plates full!!! AND ate the veggies on top of it!
I hope you find some good solutions. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Trader Joes sells a whole wheat cous cous that is fast, easy to make, and tasted great- I mix it with a little melted cheese and my 1 year old loves it- I also make it with red sauce, or add it to tomatoe soup or chicken noodle soup. The great thing about it is it is whole grain, has 5 or 6 grams of protein, and good fiber. It is really healthy.

2 moms found this helpful

I usually cook just one meal and modify it a bit for my daughter. Last night we had fajitas. I gave my daughter some of the chicken, black beans, grated cheese and cubed up red peppers. I hate to cook two different things, but don't mind modifying.
My daughter has also be very picky, so I completely sympathize with you. My daughter does not like pasta or rice much. But I always put stuff on her plate to try, whether she likes it or not because eventually they will try it. She would never touch broccoli and now I can't give her enough. I also gave her lots of fresh vegies shredded up(cucumbers, carrots, peppers, zuchinni, cabbage, whole baby frozen peas and corn). She loved the texture of the fresh vegies. I call it baby salad.
Try doing mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes mixed. It is so yummy. Or sweet potatoe oven baked fries.
A big hit in our house is a super mild chili with lots of different beans. I usually use ground turkey,onions, diced carrots, black, grabanzo and kidney beans, diced tomatoes and a super mild chili mix. You can spice it up for you later. It is super healthy and full of good protein.
I forgot one thing....try this website. www.allrecipes.com You can sign up to get a daily recipe and I have gotten great things off that website, stuff my daughter just loves.

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Baked potatoes with toppings: cheese/sour cream, saute broccoli and mushrooms or taco toppings.
Quesadillas: Cheese/ck, beans/sour cream. Or Burritos w/ diced tomatoes /lettuce/cheese. Nachos(?)
Pita pockets: cream cheese/turkey/grated carrots/lettuce.
Top ramen w/ frozen peas cooked in it. (lunch)
bagels w/ flavored cream cheese (strawberry, etc)
Bananas, apple slices, orange slices.
Cut potatoes and sweet potatoes in squares and fry in a pan.
If I'm in a hurry: Buy cooked rotisserie chicken and add can corn/ baked beans. Hawaiian rolls/salad. (w/ leftover ck you can make ck soup or ck fettuccine.
Homemade mini cheeseburger w/ pickles and french fries. Have fun. I usually give him what we eat and add one extra for him if I think he really won't eat it. (bread/brummel)If he doesn't eat I say things like take a bite and you can get down. Then I provide a healthy snack later (yogurt/fruit/pretzel sticks, etc)My sons allergic to eggs/nuts so we're a bit limited. Good luck and best wishes.

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We usually fed everyone the same dinner that we had.It's good to get your child used to eating what you have or shorty down the line you will be a short order cook, cooking two separate meals each night. My sister ended up doing that with her boys. It's more expensive and lots more work for you.
Some dinner suggestions for you both are having tacos (already rolled up and cut in bite size and sneak a vegie or two in with the meat),have an omelet with cheese and meat, having a breakfast for dinner night every so often, make a stew or soups now that the weather is getting colder with biscuits, casseroles are easy and you can throw lots of different things in and make different types, etc...

1 mom found this helpful

K.

I've used recipes from both Deceptively Delicious and the Sneaky Chef to make healthful meals that have lots of vitamins and taste good too. Some of our other favorites:

- turkey burgers with spinach and blue cheese (cut up really small)
- lentil soup
- quesadillas with cheese and avocado
- meatballs with homemade sauce
- scrambled eggs (with veggies or without)

just wait - if you keep introducing new foods, even if he doesn't eat them now, he'll eat more variety as he gets older.

K.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried Lasagna, Cous Cous or Falafel? We've had a lot of luck with those (just have to watch the salt if making from a box). Our little guy also really enjoys hummus on bread. I have a Betty crocker cookbook with a recipe for a turkey roll - which basically a meatloaf made from turkey with pureed veggies mixed in. Great way to sneak them in since our 1 year old has decided to fight fruits and veggies.

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Hi K.,

Assuming that you, too, are eating healthy meals, give him what you are making for yourself. My first was picky, so this was hard, but ultimately it is better for them to get variety and learn to eat more. Even when we had steak, we would cut it up really tiny (almost like ground beef or smaller and give it to him, although usually mixed with rice or something. You only mention veggies once - make sure he's getting lots of veggies and fruits.

Some simple ideas my kids enjoy:
* Tortellini (cut small)
* Lasagna
* Pizza
* Tacos, burritos, quesadillas
* Turkey meatballs
* Grilled turkey and cheese (or other similar sandwiches)
* Stir fry (my picky ones very favorite!)
* French dips (kids love to dip - messy, but they love it)

Those are some I can think of quickly. My first probably wouldn't have eaten a lot of those by 1, but my second was eating all of those at 1 year old. Always 2 fruits and/or veggies on the side. Cut things really small or let him tear them apart.

In addition, my pediatrician has been very clear with both kids. My job is to provide them a healthy meal. Make sure there is one thing they like. Give it all to them and let them eat what they want. They will eat when they get hungry. If they don't at dinner, they aren't going to starve. They'll eat again at breakfast. She (and several other things I've read) have also said that it takes up to 16 tries (I'm pretty sure that's the right number) to like something new. So don't give up just because your son doesn't eat it once. Keep trying.

Good luck!
C.

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Sounds like you have the basics, just add some variety.

For instance..with the gravy with meat, add a scoop of mashed potatoes, or some cubes of baked potato..or even baked french fries. Cheese is a good additive to most of what you listed. Add a little to the top, or mix it in to melt. Try mozzeralla or something mild to start with.
With vegetables just vary it. Give him a few of something he has not had before with what he has had before and he will eventually eat them if he sees others doing it. Try working with spices a little. Add cinnamon to applesauce, spread on a hot buttered piece of toast or pancake. Just provide different textures, and flavors and always colors and he will start eating. Give him bright green asparagus with his more pale dinners like rice and turkey. Try salmon or other fish if he is not allergic to, cook the chicken in different things, bbq, mexican, (Simmer in taco sauce for a few minutes..of the mild variety)..add refried beans instead of mashed potatoes chop some black olives for the top. Kids love to eat "big people" food. If you eat a variety, include him and he may not eat every time but he will eat when he is hungry. Of course you can freeze some old standbys in single serve sizes for him so you can heat and serve quickly sometimes. But, he should be able to start eating what you eat for the most part.

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Hi K.! I'll bet you're getting a ton of responses! My 11 month old loves turkey meatloaf, baked chicken (especially the dark meat!) cottage cheese, and home made chicken pizza! (buy the cheap 79 cent Jiffy pizza dough mix, then I put spagetti sauce instead of pizza sauce, cooked chicken, basil, canned pineapple and sometimes spinich or another veggie. You could put whatever you want on it, though. She LOVES it! I cut it up into little bites and she CHOWS! One pizza feeds her, me, my husband and 3 year old. SO yummy!) She also loves fish! (carefully deboned, of course) I hope this helps! N. oh and if no allergies EGGS!

Make it easier for yourself, and feed him what you make for dinner for yourself. He needs to learn to like grown-up food, too.

A couple things that my daughter liked at 1:
butternut squash soup
tomato and red pepper soup (both available at Trader Joes)
most anything mixed with yogurt
Morningstar farms "chicken" nuggets
baked panini
frozen veggies (beans, corn, peas)
tofu
carrots
applesauce
veggie lasagna (made with polenta, any veggies- eggplant, broccoli, zuchini etc., riccota, mozerella)
plain noodles

Our plan has been that if it's nutritious enough for her, she eats what we eat. If it's not as healthy as we want for her, then we make something better for her.

My girls love Walnut Acres organic Baked Beans. So easy.
That with some string cheese and they're happy. You could even cut up some cooked carrots or any other veggie and mix them in.

Yup. Your one-year-old should eat what everyone else eats. Not just "toddler food". That said, I know that it's frustrating when they reject what you're having for dinner. Try mixing up your dinner menu to include toddler friendly items. Pasta with alfredo or red sauce is always a hit with my kids (ages 3 and 16 months. Also, sweet potatoes (mashed or rounds baked with olive oil, garlic and cinammon), canned green beans, chicken cooked in a sauce, pizza, pancakes, sweet corn on the cob, cooked carrots, casseroles, rolls, rice with quinoa (and a little butter and parmesean)...

Really anything that you're having for dinner you can either cut into little pieces or feed off of your plate if your child is still throwing food on the floor (even when they're hungry, as mine does).

Best of luck. (I also "supplement" dinner with a bowl of applesauce or cottage cheese sometimes. I do feed her what we're eating, though.)

As a mother of a 4 and 2 year old, we eat a lot of scrambled eggs with diced ham and peas (toss in frozen).

One of my daughters used to like tofu with soy sauce (cut up in bite size pieces in a frying pan with a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce).

We also like to eat yams. Poke holes in it with a knife then microwave until done. Add a bit of salt and butter too ;)

Instead of buying baby food (jars) try canned veggies. They're soft enough so they won't choke.

I do macaroni noodles in spaghetti sauce with ground turkey. I always do a side of greenbeans and a side of black olives. My kids really like it. It's easier than trying to eat traditional spaghetti noodles. Plus, this is something the whole family can eat.

My little guy loves peanut butter sandwiches (okayed at 1 year). I also do egg and sausage scrambles, spaghetti,.. he's not picky at all, he'll eat whatever I give him. I usually try to give him whatever we are having as long as it's not spicy. He likes soup, cold cereal with milk, we've been doing baby yogurt a lot (unsalted top saltines usually also, veggies or fruit at most meals). He loves olives also.. fish sticks we've done, easy finger food! Hope this helps... I know I always feel like I've run out of ideas! I find if I try to plan meals a week ahead and know which ones (if any) won't work for him, then it's not so bad... of course I'm not always organized enough to plan a week ahead, but I try! Good luck :)

E.

My 16 month old loves peas and corn. Very simple and worth a try.

For my son when he was a year old he ate what we ate at dinner. For lunch him and I have leftovers from the night before. And if there are no lefovers he has mac n cheese with veggies, soup and sandwich or pb&j.

Some other fun things we like to make/eat are: Soups, stirfry, grilled fish (or broiled), tortillini or ravioli, gyozas and rice, pizza, salads. A GREAT resource is the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine and/or Book. There are a lot of quick and easy recipes that are WONDERFUL!

I don't know if this'll answer your question, but I do have advice on the picky part... and maybe that'll help you not worry over it so much.

My advice: relax and make what YOU like. Kids don't need "kid food", we just think they do. Sometimes it'll take a few tries, but he will eventually catch on. Not that he will like everything, but keep trying. We catered to our oldest & she was BY FAR our most picky eater! Now she'll eat most anything (after lots of encouragement) and she surprisingly prefers the healthier foods. Now we have three kids & we make and feed what WE like and they prefer it, by far, over the boring kids foods. We can take our kids to almost any restaurant & they will eat anything and love to discover new foods.

Some things that may help are (some won't work very well at 1, but as he grows):

Get your child involved in making - especially as he gets older. My kids will eat ANYTHING they make.

Plant a garden, even if it's tiny or just herbs... they love to see things grow & create. My kids will eat some fresh veggies straight from the garden that they aren't fond of otherwise.

Have him TRY everything on his plate... our son, who often decides he doesn't like something by the look of it has discovered many new favorites this way.

To go along with trying everything, make a "no complaining" rule now. Our kids can't say "I don't like that." That way if they don't like it, they can take a bite & then we're ok with them not finishing it.

Ok, I think that's basically it. I hope this is helpful, I just know if I had started out this way, it would have resolved many food arguments before they even started!

You may want him to start eating the same food as you. Why prepare two meals if you don't have to. just cut things smaller for him and let him try a little of everything on your plate. Even at 22 mo our daughter still has meals where all she eats is the veggie or rice, but at least we try. You also come up with some new favorites.

Hi K.,

I have an 11 month old and two older children. My quick response is....anything that you are eating! My 11 month old eats off of my plate. Granted she does have all 8 front teeth and has just started working on her molars but she has been eating off of my plate for 2 months or so. She will even eat my raw veggies if they are shredded. Just from looking at what you said you are feeding him, I would up, up, up his veggie/fruit intake. It is so easy, if you start them at this age, for them to have a life long habit of eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits. To this day that is still the first thing my oldest daughter eats off of her plate and I think it has SO much to do with how I fed her as an infant.

Good luck!

My daughter is almost one and she's picky also. i found the best way to trick her into eating things she usually refuses is to pretent to eat them. She hates me eating around her so she usually eats it just so I can't.
Also, if you add some flavor to the meats that makes her pallate range a little bit. If she has different flavors with her usual foods she will be more open to other tastes as well.

I have a great, super easy and healthy recipe alternative to "sloppy joe's", it's called Turkey Joe's and everyone loves it...kids AND big people.
- Ground Turkey
- 2 Cans of Italian Stewed Tomotoes
*if you want you can chop up a half an onion and put it in or peas if your little one likes peas...or you can just do the turkey and stewed tomatoes with seasoning.
-Put a little oil in a good size pan and heat it up
-then put your ground turkey in and once it starts cooking you want to started breaking it up into small chunks with your spatula.
-Then ad the 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
- Season with some salt an pepper and whatever else you like...johnny's seasoning is our favorite in there. I suggest keeping it simple because kids like that best.
And your done. I cook some brown rice to put it over and my little one LOVES it!!
It's easy and the left overs taste great!!
Hope you can use it!!

Kids that age are ready to try most anything. Keep in mind though, that many times it takes several introductions to a food before they actually accept it. They may simply refuse it, or try it and spit it out. It's all about exposure and becoming familiar with new foods. I feed my daughter off of my plate. Whatever I am eating she eats. When she first started eating, I gave her the soft foods and any foods that concerned me about choking, I either chopped up (practically minced) and gave it to her or I would give her a big hunk to suck and chew on that I knew she couldn't choke or swallow.

Some foods that are great are salmon, spaghetti (break the noodles up for little ones and as they get older and figure out how to swallow or chew the entire noodle you can leave them be), avacado, rice (multigrain rices, brown rice, etc add veggies to them and it's a great way to get them used to healthy foods). I like to cut up yams and bake them in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt (like french fries but healthier and sweeter).

You never know what your child will love. Just keep exposing him to your food and he will learn to eat with the family instead of being picky and expecting his own meals.

My daughter is two and loves salmon, any kind of white fish, shrimp, calamari, etc. She eats fruits and vegetables like crazy, including asparagus, peas, green beans, yams, carrots, corn, beets, etc, etc. She loves rice and pasta. And so much more. My parents are amazed at everything she will eat. But, most of all they can't believe she eats so much food that would be considered adult tastes and she isn't overweight.

Home made french fries thoroughly drained, scrambled eggs, plain yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and honey, frozen peas and carrots that he can eat as finger food, cheerios, plain spaghetti for a start.

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