By The Age Of One Year

By the age of one year, your baby should have been through a wide range of foods, cleared for allergies and be eating everything that the family is eating. Of course, for baby, this will be a mashed or chopped version of what is on your table. Hopefully, what is on your table is healthy, homemade fair. If it isn’t, there is a larger picture taking shape. Only half of the process of feeding a child is making sure that they get nourishment from this meal, for this moment. The other half is making sure that teenager (soon to be adult) you will eventually be sending out the door knows how to do a good job of nourishing him or herself when you’re not around. That age comes barreling down on you fast and the groundwork must be laid now. Of course, one can make healthier choices and changes at any point in life but it is much easier if your baby starts out as you would like them to proceed. This can also be an opportunity to make changes in your own diet so that you’re modeling – because if you don’t practice what you preach, you know they will bust you for it soon or later.

That said, the occasional birthday cake should be allowed. I had to bite my tongue hard as my sisters urged my one year old on at the sight of her reaction to her first taste of sugar. It was tough, but it was also a lesson for me to take a step back and let life take its course. Too tight and I risked a backlash. Too loose and I risked setting my baby up for the diabetes that plagues my family. Only you and Goldilocks will know what is just right for you, your life and your child.

So, how much and what foods should my one year old be consuming? The short answer is to let the child choose from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and let them stop when they are full. If everything on the table is nourishing, you have no need to worry. If you have taken steps to lay the groundwork by exposing your baby to a variety of tastes and textures, their palate will have developed into one that likes all sorts of foods. However, buckle up, the minute you get a reliable fave in the roster that palate is going to change. The trick is to stay one step ahead and never let them see you sweat. Developmentally, they are learning not only how to eat but also how to push your buttons to get what they want.

Keep trying new foods; it will work for the whole household if the variety is ever widening rather that following the fussiest down the rabbit hole where only chicken fingers and cheese strings reside. If I had a hug for every time a mother told me of the shocking things their toddler tried and liked (blue cheese! Asparagus! Stir fried shrimp! Brussels sprouts!) well, I’d be a happy girl.

The long answer is that an average one year old consumes about 1000 calories per day but the acceptable range is between 900-1800 calories over 3 meals and 2 snacks. The variance is huge so you need to factor in how active they are, if they are male or female and, genetically, how big they are likely to grow. It really doesn’t take much to get to these numbers which is why I have parents whose children are fed at daycare freak out when their child “won’t eat anything” at dinner. They have had their fill, their body knows when it is full and we have to trust that. The question is, what is the nutrient density of those calories? It is harder to get to a 300 calorie meal with fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains than it is to get there with one slice of pizza. Which is better for the child? Not the one that gets delivered in the box. Just know what they are getting at daycare and make sure you offer whatever is missing for dinner. It couldn’t be more simple.

Learning to roll with it while avoiding the truly crappy traps (blue icing on that 1st year birthday cake, anyone?), that’s the path you want. It helps to have a few homemade treasures stored up and ready to go like these chicken fingers. They are fast, fresh, easy and contain both that whole grain and lean protein, now all you need to add is a few celery sticks.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Home Made Chicken Fingers

These fingers use a fraction of the fat and salt of store-bought chicken fingers and the fact that they are baked rather than fried means that there is less trans fat being consumed. The addition of cornmeal gives the fingers some crunch but also adds fibre and an extra grain to the diet.

Recipe By : Theresa Albert, DHN, RNCP
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time 15 minutes

  • 1 cup bread crumbs — whole wheat
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

Note: This mixture is sufficient to coat eight pounds of chicken. In a large bowl, stir everything together but oil until evenly mixed. Add oil and mix again. Place mixture in 4 separate large freezer baggies to use whenever you need them. Mixture will freeze for about 3 months.

For the first batch use one of the bags filled with one quarter of the mixture. Slice breasts lengthwise in three or four strips depending on the size. Place chicken pieces, two at a time, in the bag and shake until evenly coated. Lay coated chicken pieces on a non-stick cookie sheet sprayed with vegetable spray. You may either freeze at this point for later use or bake now.

If freezing, allow to freeze fully before removing from the pan and placing in freezer bags. These fingers should be eaten within three weeks. To bake now: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lay fingers in a single layer leaving some space in between for steam to escape. Bake fingers for 10-15 minutes depending on size. Be sure they are no longer pink on the inside before eating. Serve with salsa or applesauce as a dip for extra veggies or fruit.

To bake from frozen: Lay on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil in a single layer and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake fingers for 20-30 minutes. Be sure they are no longer pink on the inside before eating.