Your little one has turned one! That means she is at a stage where she is old enough to start eating solid food, but still loves her baby food. And you, being a super parent, are constantly asking yourself, “Is this good for my child?”
Remember, food habits are developed in the earlier stages of life. If you would like your little ones to get used to a healthy lifestyle, now is the time to introduce them to healthy food. They are being introduced to “adult” food for the first time, so they will take some time to get used to the different textures, flavours, tastes, and smells. Be patient if they make a mess or eat with both hands, they’re exploring a new world, after all!
Coming up with a meal plan for a one year old is not easy. So, super moms and super dads, we are here to help you!
Ideally, your little one will now be able to eat the same food as you. However, their tummies are very small and we suggest giving them lesser quantities of food about 5 times a day. Remember to let your child develop and trust her own hunger cues.
Remember, a balanced diet and correct quantity is key here. Here is what all your little ones should be able to eat from this age onwards.
Breakfast: Wheat porridge, idli and sambar, oats (soaked overnight then boiled till soft), ragi porridge, upma, bread and eggs.
Snack: Fruits, dry fruits, buttermilk, fruit based milkshakes (try avoiding sugar),
Lunch: Roti, Rice, Palak paneer, Dal, Vegetable curries (low spice), rajma, lobia, grams, greens, and salads.
Dinner: Pongal, Rice, Dal, Appam, Stew, Vegetable rice, Boiled vegetables, Curd rice.
Remember, you choose what you give in the ideal meal plan for a one year old. As long as you keep it fresh, balanced, and lesser in quantity, your little one will be fine!
• Parents, at this time milk is still vital for the growth and development of your little one. Ensure they consume at least a glass of milk every day. This can be plain milk, a milkshake (without sugar), or milk and dry fruits like figs, dates, and almonds) blended together.
• Your little one is not yet used to solid food. Initially, introduce them to solid food by mashing it a little before serving. With time, you can stop mashing the food as a one year old baby is capable of chewing and grinding food.
• Serve your child with baby portions. Don’t overwhelm them with quantity. Give them a few pieces to eat and then gradually increase the quantity. In a few months, you will be able to sense when your child is full, and when they’re “acting” full.
• Don’t force your child to eat if they are seem done. Forcing your child to eat will only make them weary of meal times, making them develop a negative attitude toward food. Your child will ask for food when hungry.
• If your child doesn’t like a particular type of food, reintroduce the food in a few months. Because babies have maturing taste buds, their preferences will also change. Don’t get frustrated if your child isn’t drooling over your most celebrated dish, the first time you introduce it.
• Make sure your little one gets enough natural iron as an iron deficiency can affect their physical, mental, and behavioural development, and also can lead to anaemia. Add foods rich in iron such as greens, spinach, beans, raisins, and apricots to their diet.
• It’s really important to respect your child, when they say “no” to more food. While you might worry that your child hasn’t eaten enough, they’re learning what it means to be satiated. Children cannot remain hungry for long periods of time, so have trust in their tummies!
• Allow the child’s body to adjust to all the new foods. Go easy on masala in the beginning. Gradually add spices to ensure that your baby has no negative reaction to what’s being served.
• Watch out for allergic reactions to the food they are eating. They are just being introduced to regular food and this is when allergic reactions, if any, start to show up.
• While eating by themselves is a good habit to develop, ensure that you or a trusted adult is always monitoring them while they eat. Fruits and nuts should be cut into small pieces to avoid choking. Avoid food that can cause choking such as hard candy and popcorn.
• Maintain regular meal times to ensure your little ones start to understand their internal hunger cues and are able to communicate the same. At the same time, if your child refuses to eat any more, it is okay. It means they are full and it is good that they start noticing when they are full from a young age.
So parents, don’t stress out. Coming up with a meal plan for a one year old is not that hard after all. This is a new adventure you and your little ones are embarking upon. So, grab the plates, forks and spoons. Don’t forget the bib!
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.