Transitioning to a one year old is a big change! They start walking and talking more, and of course we have to figure out a new toddler schedule and what we’re going to feed them now that they have transitioned completely out of baby food. Regardless if you are an amazing cook or don’t cook at all, or your one year old loves everything or barely anything- we all need some fast meals to throw together in a pinch. These are some fast, easy and simple finger food meals for a one year old and growing toddlers!
When my first son Miles turned one, I was in a little bit of a panic as to what to feed him. He strongly preferred his pureed baby food so I mostly fed him that to his first birthday, with a few finger foods sprinkled in. With my second son Ellis, I started to introduce finger foods earlier and more intentionally. He preferred to feed himself and trying new foods, so transitioning him was a little easier. And of course I had done it once before.
With both though, I have days when I haven’t cooked or have leftovers, or haven’t prepped a month’s supply yet. So I need to have some key meals to turn to- that are fast, at least somewhat nutritious and delicious. 🙂
Many times the boys have leftovers or what we have for dinner, but other times that is not an option, so these meals come in handy. I don’t differentiate between breakfast, lunch, and dinner because I often give them eggs for dinner! It’s such a fast and easy protein and can be cooked so many different ways. So it makes a regular appearance at meal times around here.
Foods To Have On Hand:
You want a variety in each category, these are some of our favorites.
- Fruit- bananas, strawberries, blueberries, “cuties” (clementines), peaches, 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 breast, natural chicken nuggets, beans (with rice), fish
- Carbs- whole wheat toast (or whatever bread you buy), oatmeal, potatoes, rice, pasta, corn tortillas, whole wheat pancakes, graham crackers, whole grain goldfish,
Tips and Supplies:
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- 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! (Have my sons eaten off tables? Yes, but if there is a better option, of course I’ll go for that!) P.S. Disposable placemats are also fantastic.
- I have Ellis hold a spoon while I feed him non finger foods. He can’t do it himself yet but he is getting used to holding it and giving it a try. Look for opportunities to practice their pincer grip and holding silverware.
- There will be phases of pickiness- don’t give up and stop offering the foods to your one year old. But also don’t get discouraged and try to make them eat it. 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.
- If you use canned or prepackaged fruits and vegetables- buy ones without added sugar or salt.
- When you can- go for brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pancakes, and they even make whole grain goldfish!
- I have used lunch meat- I get the kind with lower sodium but it’s still a last resort option because of the amount of salt.
Here are 10 simple finger food meals for a one year old that you can try right away!
Eggs, potatoes, cheese, avocado, and peaches.
Half of a chicken and cheese sandwich on whole wheat toast, plain greek yogurt with honey and strawberries, with cooked carrots. Yogurt is not a finger food, but oh so nutritious and a great side.
Leftovers- chicken, potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash with clementines. Any leftovers you can turn into finger foods is always great!
Regular oatmeal with cinnamon and a sprinkle of brown sugar, blueberries, and scrambled eggs.
Turkey, cheese, avocado, and strawberries. Sometimes you just need to make a homemade lunchable!
Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and bell peppers, avocado, and blueberries.
Whole wheat pancakes, plain yogurt with honey, and bananas.
PB&J on whole wheat, carrots, and blueberries.
Rice and beans, avocado, with grapes. Like yogurt, rice and beans are technically not a finger food, but super fast to make and great protein source!
Cheese quesadilla on corn tortilla, strawberries, and peas.
Cheerios, banana, with yogurt melts. This is a bonus number 11! Because sometimes you just need to throw down some cheerios and yogurt melts. 🙂
For on the go park lunches, I still love these 6 ounce containers. Lastly, to be completely honest, I don’t always use plates. He likes to throw them at times, so we do some straight on the high chair eating as well.
Hope you’ve gotten some ideas for feeding your little one!