A One Year Old Meal Plan- Sample Toddler Menus

There is a reason meal plans and schedules are so popular, they are extremely helpful.  Creating a predictable schedule for your one to three year olds is not only essential for their sleep and play, but also for their eating habits.  We’ve talked about a lot of food ideas for one year olds and toddlers, but haven’t covered an actual daily timeline! A one year old meal plan can set up your toddler to develop a healthy rhythm with eating. 

My four year old is a snack monster, he’ll graze all day and not eat any meals.  He knows when his snack times are and that helps alleviate some of the food and meal battles. And if he’s not snacking right up until dinner, he is more likely to eat his meal (go figure! 🙂 ) I’ve included a few different daily meal plans, because things fluctuate depending on your child and the day. I have three boys, my youngest is 18 months. They have all had their preferences and different tastes, starting when they were babies. 

Related Post: All your questions about feeding toddlers- Master List of ALL the Food Ideas for One Year Old Babies

What & When Should my 1 Year Old Eat

A 1 year old meal plan should have a general framework:

  • Switch to whole milk at 12 months- recommended to switch to 2% or skim etc. after 2 years old. 16-24 ounces a day 
  • About 5 mini meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks- giving the same foods for snack in a smaller amount helps to create a predictable pattern and not make snacks more important or desirable than meals.
  • Eat about every 2-3 hours (Time between meals and snacks)
  • Serving sizes: One year olds don’t eat a whole lot.  This will differ from baby to baby, but a general guideline is to keep servings at about 1/2 cup or even 1/4 cup for sides.  For example, a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with half that amount of strawberries on the side. 
  • Feeding Them- Parent led or finger foods can be self fed, early as 9-10 months old. Start to preload a spoon with food so they practice lifting it to their mouth. Gradually, between 14-18 months they will get better.  But it’s a skill they will continually work on through their 2nd year. 

Related Posts: Healthy Baby Finger Food Recipes-Meal Prep and 10 Simple Finger Foods for a One Year Old

Foods to Incorporate

Related Post: Quick & Nutritious Breakfast Ideas for a One Year Old

Meals should strive to have a balance of foods from these categories- at least 3 per meal. Dinner is where I get the most adventurous and offer what the rest of the family is having. Breakfast and lunch- I put together especially for the kids. Check out these toddler lunches for school or daycare for lots of lunches that include foods from each food group.

  • Fruit- bananas, strawberries, blueberries, “cuties” (clementines), peaches, apples, watermelon, etc. 
  • Veggies- avocado, green beans, carrots, peas, sweet potato, squash (easy to cook or low sodium/no sugar added cans)
  • Dairy- cheese, plain whole milk or greek yogurt, milk
  • Protein- eggs, turkey slices, chicken, meats, beans and legumes, fish
  • Carbs- whole wheat toast (or whatever bread you buy), oatmeal, sweet and regular potatoes, rice, pasta, corn tortillas, whole wheat pancakes
  • Healthy fats- avocado, nuts and seeds, egg yolks and nut butters (if not allergic)

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Breakfast

Quick & Nutritious Breakfast Ideas for a One Year Old

Quick and nutritious ideas to perfect breakfast for one year old toddlers. What to feed new toddlers is one of the hardest challenges. Read on for healthy meal ideas and menus for one year olds.

Quick and nutritious ideas to perfect breakfast for one year old toddlers. What to feed new toddlers is one of the hardest challenges. Read on for healthy meal ideas and menus for one year olds.

Lunch

10 Simple Finger Foods for a One Year Old

Simple finger food meals for a one year old when you don't have time to cook. One year old meal ideas that are fast and easy. Food ideas and meal plan!

Simple finger food meals for a one year old when you don't have time to cook. One year old meal ideas that are fast and easy. Food ideas and meal plan!

Dinner

Master List of ALL the Food Ideas

Tips

  • Pickiness happens. It happens in waves and phases. Keep trying to offer new foods and foods they didn’t like in the past; they may surprise you by changing their mind.  (My four year old just randomly decided he loves asparagus! I have put one on his plate for years and he always turned his nose up and finally he ate it up and asked for more. You really never know, I always continue to serve them a little but not push them to eat it. )
  • Don’t get discouraged and try to make them eat all their food.  It will get frustrating at times to make something they don’t eat, but it’s all part of growing up and them seeing what they like and don’t like.  My oldest didn’t eat meat for at least 6 months- I kept trying and one day he ate it again.  To substitute for protein we did a lot of eggs, beans and greek yogurt. Read more tips for picky eating phases here!  
  • Fruit is always a win with my boys, vegetables on the other hand- not so much. Sneaking them into egg muffins, scrambled eggs, muffins or green smoothies helps ease my mind that they are getting at least some green produce in their system.
  • Get some fun divider plates or placemat plates.  My two year old is using the placemat most since it doesn’t fit on our high chair.  Check to see if yours will fit before buying!
  • Reusable placemats for restaurant dining is amazing! No dirty tables anymore! Disposable placemats are also fantastic.
  • I have my boys hold a spoon while I feed them non finger foods.  Helps them practice holding it and how it works before they can eat independently. Look for opportunities to practice their pincer grip and holding silverware.

Sample 1 Year Old Meal Plan

7am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

7:30am | Breakfast

9:30am | Snack

12pm | Lunch

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

(Offer veggie or fruit “appetizer” if they are hungry again before dinner)

6pm | Dinner

OR

6am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

6:30am | Breakfast

8:30am | Snack 

11am | Lunch

12pm | Afternoon Nap

2pm | Wake up and Snack

5pm | Dinner

YOUNG ONE YEAR OLD MEAL PLAN- TWO NAPS

7am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk

7:30am | Breakfast

9am | Morning Nap (This nap fades out between 15-18 months)

10am | Snack after taking morning nap

12pm | Lunch

1pm | Afternoon Nap

3pm | Wake up and Snack

5:30-6pm | Dinner

Access Your Free Printable of Meal Ideas for 1 Year Olds!

Use this list as a reference so you never run out of ideas!

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