Foods and Drinks to Encourage

Did You Know?
Assorted fruits and vegetables cut up into chunks, placed by small jars containing pureed versions of the same food.

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

To learn more, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

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. Visit Tastes and Textures for more information.

Encourage Your Child to Eat

Offer 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, beans, peas, lentils, yams, or beets.
  • Whole grains: whole grain breads, crackers, or pastas.
  • Proteins: soft, small pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, or tofu.
  • Dairy: pasteurized cheeses or yogurts, including soy-based yogurt.

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 8 ounces per day).
  • Breast milk (if you are still breastfeeding) or infant formula.

Once your child is 12 months old, you can begin offering plain whole cow’s milk or fortified unsweetened soy beverages. Starting at 24 months old, move to low-fat (1%) or fat-free dairy milk.

For ideas on different meals or snacks for your child, visit the USDA’s MyPlate Recipes page.

A crawling child

Children less than 2 should not have any added sugars in their diet.

A smiling boy

Children 2 – 5 years have limited room in their diet for foods or beverages with added sugars. Learn more about what foods and drinks young children should avoid or limit.

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