Does an 11 Month Old Need Protein at Every Meal? What to Feed Baby at Lunch?

Updated on May 01, 2010
B.G. asks from Philadelphia, PA
12 answers

I would like suggestions/ideas on what and how much to feed my baby boy for lunch. I was starting to give him cottage cheese with fruit or carrots everyday, then yogurt, but now I'm cutting out dairy until I determine if he's lactose intolerant or allergic. (He's had some symptoms: gas, spit-ups, loose stools, and now, diaper rash!) SO, I don't have his lunch staples anymore. We've been giving him pretty much the same breakfast and dinner for awhile now (although we're starting to introduce table food too, in very small pieces). For breakfast it's 4 tbsp cereal mixed with breastmilk or ricemilk and 2 ozs of pureed fruit, plus handfuls of Cheerios. For dinner it's 2 ozs pureed chicken & veggies, 2 ozs pureed squash or sweet potato, and handfuls of Cheerios.)
Can lunch be without protein? And how much is enough? Any menu ideas appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all the moms who answered my post! It's very helpful to check in with other moms about what they are feeding their babies. Since I'm still breastfeeding my son, I guess I don't have to worry too much about protein right now and I got some great new ideas on foods to feed him.

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answers from Tulsa on

if you can get him to eat the protien do it. but babies are finicky eaters I wouldnt sweat to much if he goes through phases of no protien. my 2 yr old does this. eats only the bread off of the sandwich and not the meat. at least give it to him but dont sweat it if he doesnt eat it. "you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink"

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answers from Austin on

We did a lot of eggs. Scrambled or hardboiled and chopped up. Also, I couldn't bring myself to puree meat (I know), so I just gave tiny chopped pieces. Have you tried sliced avocado?
I would stay away from things like processed fish sticks and chicken nuggets, if only because the sodium is so darn high. But you could make your own very easily and very "healthily".



answers from Dallas on

You can start feeding him a lot of the same stuff you and your husband eat. That may make things a little easier.

I have to work on protein with my son too. He is 18 months and loves mostly fruits and vegetable and doesn't really care for meat. He will usually pick it out. However, he does love spaghetti and's kind of funny! Eggs are a good source of protein...and since there are so many ways to cook them you can see what he likes. Maybe some goat cheese-people that are lactose intolerant with cow products are generally okay with goat products.

Look on the USDA pyramid for how much protein he should be eating. THen go from there. I generally don't give my kids everything from all food groups at each meal because they can't eat that much. I just try to fit everything into 5 or 6 meals...breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 or 3 snacks


answers from Jacksonville on

If he is taking breastmilk or formula.. he is getting protein.



answers from Nashville on

I don't do protein at every meal. My son is very healthy and a good eater. Well, as good a toddler who has suddenly decided pasketti is the best thing ever. :) I do try to do a variety every day, but protein is probably what I feed him the least of. I worry more about veggies and fruits.

One thing about nutrition for our kids is that it is based on a weekly diet. If you were to take your son into a pediatrician or nutritionist for issues with weight gain or diet or whatever, they are going to ask you what he has eaten for the whole week. As long as he is getting all his nutrition needs met over the course of the week, it doesn't matter if one day all he will eat is cheerios or spaghetti. When I heard that I definitely stopped worrying about balancing every meal.

Here is a great website for meals for babies and toddlers (and the rest of the family too). It is a food blog, you can even follow it on facebook and get recipes daily in your news feed if you are on FB. She is a mom who was just trying to feed her baby healthy stuff, but her blog turned into a full time gig I guess.



answers from Honolulu on

Here is a good link from Baby Center:

For us, per Our Pediatrician... "protein"/meats was not introduced until 12 months old. If too much or too soon... too much protein can overload the kidneys.

Each kid eats differently. Certain foods cannot be given under 1 year old. Eggs for example.

And yes, breastmilk/Formula, for the 1st year of life, is a baby's PRIMARY source of nutrition... NOT solids and NOT other liquids. And, breastmilk/Formula should still be fed ON-demand. 24/7.

all the best,


answers from Williamsport on

Mashed avocado is a good protein, same with beans or a bit of almond butter.
Be VERY careful about cutting dairy at this age even thought that's the first thing we're all told to do. Make sure it's worth it to lose all that easy natural non-supplement protein, vitamin D, calcium and essential fats (for brain)-such as an extreme case. Get several opinions and really make sure your baby is absolutely intolerant. Sometimes kids can work through the problem by keeping small amounts. Dairy intolerance is highly over diagnosed and very risky to bone and brain development.

My daughter had some skin and allergy issues, and my doctor told me to cut dairy but I refused. Her skin issues passed on their own, her nasal allergies are very mild (like her dad), and I'm glad I didn't cut that nutrition in the early development years. We are extremely conscious of nutrition, and the elements in organic milk are very hard to replace for toddlers.

For kids with digestion issues, goat milk is often easier to process, and kids tend to get allergies to things they have too much of, so if you determine that he has an allergy to it, but isn't totally intolerant, you can cut dairy down and mix things up, like some soy milk, some organic cow's milk, some rice milk, some organic goat milk, this could help as well.
Good work feeding your son so well!



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter loved hummus. you could also try beans as they are very soft too.



answers from Cleveland on

At 11 mo, he should still be getting everything he really needs from the breastmilk or formula... milk/dairy shouldn't be introduced till after a year & even then it should be done slowly.

Most of my kids were actually about 14 mo. old before I switched to milk with them. But if he has teeth, he should be able to eat almost anything as long as it is cut up small (about tea size or smaller). Mine loved spagetti, sloppy joes (without bun), potatoes, fruit, cooked carrots, peas, greenbeans, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, dry cereals, cookies, ghram crackers, instant oatmeal, pancakes, sausage gravey, chicken - like I said they loved everything... I really only used baby food to test for allergies, then once they got teeth we started the table food. I started them out eating off my plate more & then worked on giving them their own. But I just started giving my 2 1/2 yr old yogurt, but I have heard you can give it to kids... just don't know when.

If you are really concerned w/ his diet - call his doc or talk to them at his 1 yr check-up.


answers from Dallas on



answers from York on

My ten month old loves avacado at lunch. It's the first food he's really enjoyed eating in chunks and mashing up with his gums. He can eat almost half an avacado in one sitting! He does get super messy and mushes lots in his hands so it's not a food I'd take on the go.
I am a total idiot in the kitchen, so pardon me if you don't need to be told the following. Avacados have a thick dark green skin that's super easy to cut into with a sharp knife. I usually try to cut them in half length-wise. The knife always seems to just slip around the pit on its own. They are usually a dollar a piece in my grocery store. You want to choose ones that are not too hard, not too mushy. The inside is a yellowy green color and very tender. Most of the time, the insides come out in a couple of big chunks when you pull them away from the skin. Once you cut it into bite size pieces, it can be given to the baby the way it is- no cooking needed. I eat his leftovers in salads and on turkey sandwiches. Yum!



answers from Harrisburg on

If your child is still on formula, as he should be, then he's getting all the iron he needs. But he does need to get used to the taste and texture of it now so when he goes off formula at a year old he'll be already eating it and used to it.

I gave Multi-Grain Cheerios for breakfast followed by 8oz formula.

Morning snack was Gerber Veggie Puffs or Wheels and juice/water.

Lunch was fruit (fruit cocktail drained) with sandwich pieces, followed by 8oz formula.

Afternoon snack was Gerber Veggie Puffs or Wheels and juice/water.

Dinner was veggies (sweet taters cut) and meat pieces, followed by 8oz formula.
(canned mixed veggies are soft and small pieces for easy pick up, anything canned)

Chicken nuggets, fish sticks, PB&J, ham/turkey & cheese sandwich, mini or micro ravioli (rinsed), mac n cheese, and anything you eat with little seasonings in bite size pieces.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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