Healthy Children - May 2019

Food and Drinks to Encourage

When your child is between 6 and 12 months, some types of food and drinks are better for your child than others.

Healthy eating patterns your child starts now will help promote healthy habits in the future. It is important to provide foods that match your child’s eating skills. At first, foods may need to be soft and mashed or bite-sized. 

Encourage Your Child to Eat

Offers your child a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, and yogurt or cheeses. Make a rainbow of different colored foods on your child’s plate. Here are a few examples:

  • Fruits: bananas, strawberries, pears, oranges, melons, or avocados.
  • Vegetables: cooked spinach, carrots, peas, sweets potatoes, or beets.
  • Whole grains: whole grain bread, crackers, or pasta.
  • Meats: soft, small pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, or turkey.
  • Dairy: pasteurized yogurts or cheeses.

Once your child is 12 months old, he or she may be eating more of the foods that you eat. Eating a healthy diet sets a good example for your toddler. Continue to offer a variety of healthy options and allow your child to choose foods to eat.

Encourage Your Child to Drink

When your child is between 6 and 12 months old, you can offer your child:

  • Water (4 to 6 ounces per day).
  • Breast Milk (if you are still breastfeeding) or infant formula.

Taste and Textures

Giving your child foods with a variety of different tastes and textures can help him or her:

  • Develop fine motor skills (like pinching and picking food up with her fingers).
  • Develop chewing skills.
  • Learn to accept and like a variety of foods.

You can let your child try a variety of textures including:

  • Smooth (strained or pureed).
  • Mashed or lumpy.
  • Finely chopped or ground.

Your child may start out with smooth or mashed foods first and then begin to eat finely chopped or ground foods, as he or she gets older. Encourage your child to pinch or pick up food as he or she develops these skills.