Dietary Recall for a 12-month-old

Moms often ask me, “What do you feed your son? Now that (insert baby’s name here) has transitioned from purees to finger foods, I have no idea what to feed her besides Cheerios!”

I usually respond with a list of my son’s favorite foods…chicken, avocado, lentil patties, sliced cheese, blueberries…etc. A week ago, I started keeping a food diary for my son because he has been having some allergic reactions to foods other than eggs. In order to help me and his allergist pin-point what he is allergic too, it helps to keep a written log. Since I’ve been writing it down anyway, I thought I would share it with you in hopes that it could give other moms an idea of what a 12-month-old son-of-a-dietitian eats on a typical day!

Some things I keep in mind when feeding my newly minted 12-month old:

  1. Limit dairy (cheese, yogurt, etc.) to 2 meals per day. Why? Calcium blocks iron absorption. He is also getting breastmilk throughout the day which provides calcium, fat, and protein. He will also eat his weight in cheese if I allowed him…

  2. Include iron rich foods at least 2 meals per day, if not 3 meals per day. Why? Babies 7-12 months need 11 mg of iron per day. That is A LOT for someone who only eats 1000 calories per day, some of which is coming from milk that is very low in iron.

  3. Limit grains to 1 meal and 1 snack per day. Why? Grains fill up his tummy and displaces room for other more nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, fats, etc.

  4. Include fat at every main meal. Why? Babies 7-12 months need 30 grams of fat per day for brain growth and to meet their high energy needs.

  5. Incorporate a variety of foods…over the course of one week. My son may eat the same food at multiple meals during the same day on occasion but that is because the food needs to be eaten at its freshest. I try to get variety throughout the week.

  6. Have a variety of options in the refrigerator/freezer so that anyone can put together for a quick nutritious meal for him.

  7. We are transitioning to him eating more of the same foods that I eat but at this point, some of our adult meals are too salty or too difficult for him to chew. I always think about what we are making for dinner and if I can save some for him to eat the next day.

  8. Teddy is egg-free so I have to modify a lot of recipes for him. If your child can tolerate eggs, I highly recommend serving him or her eggs because they are superfoods for babies and toddlers!

  9. Don't put all of the food out at once. Too much food on the tray is overwhelming for babies

Dietary Recall

Sunday

Breakfast: Peanut butter on toasted low-sodium Ezekiel bread, banana

Lunch: Homemade turkey meatballs, homemade baked sweet potato fries, avocado wedge, blueberries

Snack: Turkey meatballs, blueberries

Dinner: Homemade low-sodium lentil soup, homemade cinnamon sweet potato fries, blackberries

Monday

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt, ground flax seeds, blueberries

Lunch: Tofu and black bean tacos (left over from mom and dad’s dinner) with melted cheese

Snack: (slept through snack time)

Dinner: Chicken, leftover lentil soup, avocado wedge

Tuesday

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt, ground flax seeds, blueberries, banana, Cheerios

Lunch: Chicken, sweet potato fries

Snack: Cheerios, pita bread with hummus and olive oil drizzle

Dinner: Homemade quinoa spinach sweet potato patty, chicken, broccoli, banana

Wednesday

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt, ground flax seeds, blueberries, blackberry, banana

Lunch: Chicken, broccoli, avocado wedge

Snack: Sliced cheddar cheese, broccoli

Dinner: Lentil pasta and butter, peanut butter toast, banana

Thursday

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt, ground flax seeds, blueberries, blackberries, banana

Lunch: Lentil pasta with butter, farro and butternut squash (left over from mom and dad’s dinner), blueberries

Snack: (slept through snack time)

Dinner: (at a restaurant) Lamb shank, chicken, orzo, tomato & cheese casserole, white beans

Friday

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt, ground flax seeds, smoked salmon, peanut butter toast

Lunch: Chicken, broccoli, sweet potato fries

Snack: Raspberries, Cheerios

Dinner: Lentil soup, homemade chicken liver pate mouse, homemade cinnamon sweet potato fries, raspberries

Saturday - Birthday Party!!

I did not record his meals this day but he did love his birthday cake. I made an egg-free, no added sugar, banana, apple, blueberry “cake” with whipped cream topping and fresh berries. It was delish! I will post the recipe soon!

Some other favorites:

  • Banana pancakes

  • Blueberry pancakes

  • Lentil Patties – See recipe on blog

  • Peas

  • Sauteed mushrooms

  • Sauteed zucchini

  • Roasted butternut squash (or homemade butternut squash soup)

  • Liver pate on toast

  • Cauliflower crust pizza

  • Roasted salmon

  • Homemade beef stew

  • Homemade pizza (on pita bread or homemade dough)

  • Smoothies (frozen berries, full-fat yogurt, whole milk, ground flax seed)

Of course, this week of meals is not perfect. Some weeks are better than others and provide a larger variety of nutrients. I hope that this dietary recall provides you with ideas on how to realistically cycle through a variety of foods but also not spend hours in the kitchen making something new for your toddler every day. Babies have fluctuating appetites so if you offer your baby some of these foods and they are not eaten, do not give up. Provide them at the next meal or on the next day. Over time, your baby will listen to his or her internal cues and consume the nutrients and calories they need to grow and thrive.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me or leave a comment!

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