12 months meal plan
Your baby is now well on his way to mastering this eating thing. By 9 months, your baby should be ready for 3 full meals and even 1-2 planned snacks daily, and, by the first birthday, expect your baby to be eating 3 balanced meals with 2-3 snacks each day.
You may have also noticed that as your baby begins to eat more and more solids, he is relying less on breast milk and/or formula. Between ages 1-2, toddlers have a great need for fat (which includes the all important DHA), protein and other nutrients such as iron, calcium and choline to support rapid development. Liquid milk makes up a large part of their daily nutrition. Formula fed babies are encouraged to transition to whole milk or toddler milk at the one-year mark, while breastfed babies can continue to drink breast milk. If you’re making the switch to whole milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that 16-20 ounces of whole milk daily is adequate, and breastfeeding moms can continue to do so as mom and baby desire.
Some important nutrients for this age (but remember that all vitamins and minerals are important for your growing toddler and variety in the diet is key!) are protein, DHA, iron, calcium, and choline.
Protein is an important component of our skin, hair, nails, muscles, blood, and bones.
DHA is an unsaturated omega 3 fat and is critical for brain health.
Calcium is important for bone and tooth health, blood clotting, neuron messaging, hormones, muscle contraction (including the heart!) and other processes.
Iron is important for prevention of iron-deficiency anemia, which can affect growth and development if left untreated. Iron is an important component of red blood cells .
Choline is important for cell function and supports brain health.
Folate, or folic acid, is a critical nutrient during periods of rapid growth, such as during early childhood. It helps our tissues grow and function. It can be found in many whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, meats, eggs, seafood, and grains. It’s especially prevalent in spinach, yeast, asparagus and brussels sprouts.
The below meal plan, snack and recipe ideas will help you provide your baby with nutritious choices that will continue to influence his taste development and food preferences. They include foods such as good sources of protein (yogurt, lean animal sources like poultry and fish, eggs, soy, lentils, beans and quinoa), DHA (fatty fish which feed off algae and a small amount in eggs and poultry), iron (beans, tofu, dark green veggies, beef, chicken and fortified breakfast cereals and grains), calcium ( dairy such as yogurt, milk and cheese and plants such as kale and broccoli) and choline (eggs, meat and fortified foods) and other important nutrients.
By 12 months, your baby will be eating more and more of the foods you are. The best way to encourage healthy eating and appropriate mealtime behaviors is through modeled meals. Babies and children who are part of regular family meals are often more accepting and willing to try new foods and may be less “picky.”
For more information on picky eating, please visit our Picky Eating Hub.
- Option 1: Whole grain toast strips with nut butter and 100% fruit spread
- Option 2: Unsweetened yogurt with sliced berries and granola
- Option 3: Oatmeal topped with diced cinnamon apples
- Option 4: Yogurt Recipe: Fluffy Spinach Scrambled Eggs
- Option 5: Banana pancakes (combine 1 ripe banana, 1 egg and 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour. Cook 3 minutes on each side over medium heat)
- Option 1: Quesadilla made with whole-wheat tortillas, cheddar cheese and cubed avocado
- Option 2: Shredded or diced chicken or turkey with black beans and corn
- Option 3: Hard boiled egg, cubed butternut squash, sliced grapes
- Option 4: Whole grain pita “pizza” topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spinach and broccoli
- Option 5: Yogurt Recipe: Cheesy Peasy Pasta
- Option 1: Whole grain spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground beef, chicken or turkey mixed with soft cooked mushrooms
- Option 2: Grilled chicken tenders with steamed green beans and baked sweet potato “fries”
- Option 3: Baked fish “fingers” with roasted carrots and quinoa
- Option 4: Cheeseburger (ground beef, chicken or turkey), cut up in pieces on a whole grain roll and soft roasted zucchini
- Option 5: Fork mashed salmon and soft cooked cauliflower
- Option 1: Plain yogurt with mashed banana and sprinkle of granola
- Option 2: Hummus with steamed or soft cooked veggies
- Option 3: Yogurt Recipe: Banana & Yogurt Muffins
- Option 4: Diced, ripe fruit
- Option 5: Shredded or cubed cheese
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.