1-year-old baby sitting at the table ready for food

Nutrition for Your One-Year-Old

Your little one will no longer just be sitting with the family at the dining table having his own special “curated” meal.

Prepare meals using very little salt, sugar and oil for the whole family so that your little one-year-old can eat what everyone else is eating. This is a great opportunity to get everyone in the family to eat healthier!

Remember that your kid looks up to you, so parents need to set a good example by eating the same food as your little one.

Know Your Servings

Here is the recommended number of servings from each food group per day to make sure that your child gets all the nutrients he needs for a balanced diet.

Recommended Total Servings in a Day

Wholegrains (Brown rice and wholemeal bread)

Fruit

Vegetables

Meat and Others

Meat

Dairy foods or calcium-rich foods

2 - 3

½ - 1

½

½

1 ½

2 servings of brown rice or bread = 4 slices of bread or 1 bowl of rice
½ serving of fruit = ½ banana/apple/orange/mango or ½ wedge of pineapple/papaya/watermelon
½ serving of vegetables = 3/8 mug or ½ rice bowl of vegetables
½ serving of meat and others = ½ palm size of meat or 1 block of medium-sized bean curd or ½ rice bowl of cooked legumes
1 serving of milk = 2 glasses (250 ml per glass)

You can continue to feed your child breast milk after he turns one. If your child has been drinking formula milk, you may choose to switch to full cream milk instead.

Use My Healthy Plate

Don’t forget your best mate for a healthy meal — My Healthy Plate.

Use My Healthy Plate to ensure your child gets all the nutrients he needs for his growth and development.

Nutrition Tips for Your Toddler

1. Healthier Snacks that Pack a Punch

As mum and dad would know by now, there are times when the little one doesn’t eat very much. Children can be fussy eaters, so it’s very important that every bite the little one takes packs a bunch of nutrients for growth and development.

This means less sugary treats, which don’t have much nutritious value, and opting for healthier and more nutritious snacks packed with vitamins and minerals such as wholemeal bread or biscuits, yoghurt, or fruit and veggies instead. Avoid sugary snacks like dried fruit, which can be high in calories. Go for fresh fruit!

2. Fat isn’t All Bad

It’s good to be mindful of what you eat, but don’t be too strict when it comes to fat just yet. Low-fat food and diets are not suitable for children below the age of 2 years. If there is a history of obesity and other weight-related problems in the family, it would be a good idea to consult with a doctor first.

3. Water and Milk Over Flavoured Drinks

Water and milk (breast, formula or full cream cow’s milk) is the best for our bodies, and also your child’s growing body. When your child’s thirsty, milk or water are the best choices—avoid juice, flavoured milk and soft drinks.

Food for a young child made from moulds

4. A Bit of Creativity and Variety

Anyone would get sick of eating the same food all the time. Try planning the meals a week in advance so your child gets a variety of foods from dairy products to fruits and vegetables throughout the week.

When it comes to food for one-year-olds, remember that vegetables don’t always have to be green, and you can add a splash of colour to spice up a dull-looking meal.

Carrots, tomatoes and pumpkin are all fun veggies to feed your child. Moulds can also help create small pieces of fun, interesting shapes to attract your child’s attention and whet up an appetite!

5. Nurturing Healthy Eating Habits

It is never too early to start building a strong foundation for your child’s dietary habits. Studies have shown that food preferences and eating habits formed during childhood follow the child into adulthood.

So why not nudge your child in the right direction, and help your baby make wiser food choices now? For example, take him grocery shopping and have him pick out fresh fruits and veggies, or read nutrition labels together and use the chance to teach him about calories and nutrients!

This is a fantastic opportunity to teach him about food, and how to make healthier choices for a healthier life.

Other good habits to build:

  • Eat without distraction. That means turning off the TV and putting away the tablet and mobile phone, and focusing on the meal.

  • Stop eating when full. Your child will intuitively know when he is full, if you have been breast- or bottle-feeding him on demand and have not been forcing him to finish his food. Continue to nurture this good habit, and don’t force your child to eat if he doesn’t want to—he does not need to finish everything on his plate!

  • Enjoy the natural flavours of food. Your baby has been eating food that’s low in salt and sugar, so continue feeding him meals that are not overly seasoned so the natural flavours of fruit, veggies, grains and meats come through!

6. Avoid Using Food as a Reward or Punishment

Mealtimes should be relaxing, pleasant, and fun. Getting angry because your child does not finish his meal, or offering a piece of chocolate as a reward if he does will not help your child foster a healthy relationship with food.

Dad, mom, and one-year-old baby eating healthily together

7. Be a Good Role Model

Mealtimes are a great opportunity to build closer family bonds and also teachable moments for your child. You are your child’s very first teacher, so be a good role model and show how you, too, practice healthy eating habits.

For more information on early nutrition and weaning recipes for your toddler, visit Early Childhood Nutrition.

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