Get this awesome list perfect for 1 year olds, toddlers, and babies learning to eat table and finger foods from a feeding therapist and mom. Grab a free printable list too!
It is time to talk about the first real-deal table foods you should give your baby. Most of the ideas I am sharing are for babies 10 months and up, but it really depends on how well your baby or toddler is chewing up foods. You could be introducing these a little earlier or later. Also, as the parent, you know what’s best, go with what makes you comfortable!
In general these are perfect foods for 1 year olds and those a little younger!
If you have questions or concerns about choking and foods that are safe to introduce, head to When Can Babies Eat Cheerios for foods parents are often wondering about. And, of course, ask your child’s pediatrician. Keep in mind that gagging is different than choking though. See baby gagging for more information.
These guidelines are based on my experience as a licensed occupational therapist and the 14 years of experience working with hundreds of families. The suggestions are also in alignment with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations.
I am going to do this a little backward and give you food ideas and some meal plans in this post and then follow-up soon in a second post on exactly how to begin making this transition (UPDATE: head to how to transition to table foods to learn more). To be honest, I wanted to have a resource for myself, since Isaac (10 months old) is right in the middle of this transition and I am struggling to make sure he has enough variety.
I do have to admit that Isaac isn’t (hmm, need to choose my words carefully here,) the best eater.
He chews and manages food very well, but unless it’s not extremely palatable to him he isn’t very interested. Of course, this is very frustrating! To make sure I optimize my chances at success (aka: he actually eats something other than Gerber Puffs or Cheerios), I need a go to a list with all of my ideas (plus some new ones) so I am not scrambling in the craziness of meal prep.
I am organizing the list into three categories: fruits/vegetables, starches/carbs, and proteins. When putting together meals, plan for at least one food in each of these three groups. Also, keep in mind that if you mash up a casserole or lasagna all three categories may be covered in one shot. For example with the lasagna: spaghetti sauce= protein, noodles= carbs, and meat or cheese= protein.
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Tips for Feeding Table Foods to Babies
- Make sure everything you give your baby for the first time is closely monitored. Chew a small piece in your mouth first and pay attention to how hard it is to chew. If it doesn’t break down easily and quickly, it probably isn’t a good choice. Get more tips on how to transition to table foods here.
- Stay calm if your baby coughs or chokes a little, it will happen. If you freak out they will freak out. If they are coughing or choking on a food frequently, stop giving it to them and re-introduce at a later date. Read more about how to handle and move past frequent baby gagging here.
- Cut food into small pieces so they can chew it easily. Cut beans in half and make sure meats are soft and moist. Help your baby with foods that are difficult to pick up, don’t make the pieces bigger until you are sure they can manage them.
- This is a list of table foods, not necessarily finger foods, although many of them are. For example, spread hummus on crackers or serve cottage cheese.
- I nearly always use whole wheat or whole grain for noodles, crackers, and bread. I would urge you to set the trend now and your child will not know any different. Okay, I won’t lecture on the benefits of whole grains, well not right now, anyways!
- Cutting foods into small pieces can be a pain, but I love these easy to use Funbites cutters that keep everything neat and clean.
- This suction mat is also my favorite if your using a chair that pulls right up to the table or if your going to a restaurant. Check out the little pocket to catch the food, brilliant. I used this with all three of my kids, and its held up amazingly! Seven years of use, not too shabby.
- If you use a high chair these suction bowls are awesome for trays!
Protein Ideas for Baby
Carb Ideas for Baby
Fruits/Vegetables Ideas for Baby
Baby Meal Plans
Breakfast Ideas for Babies
- English muffin with cream cheese and chopped strawberries
- Cottage cheese (depending on age may need to chop coarsely in food processor), diced pear, and graham crackers
- Diced hard-boiled egg, diced toast with butter, and applesauce
- Cream Of Wheat with pureed berries and plain whole milk yogurt (yes, mix this all together)
- Pumpkin waffles and diced banana
Check out toddler breakfast ideas for more inspiration.
Lunch Ideas for Babies
- Tortilla folded in half (quesadilla style) with a little melted cheese inside and mashed avocado
- No sugar added applesauce, zucchini bread, and shredded mozzarella pieces
- Tomato soup with black beans and blueberry cornbread
- Hummus spread on pita with diced fruit salad (or whatever fruit you have on hand)
- Shreds of pot roast in tzatziki sauce and pureed mango-banana sauce (blend pieces of mango and banana together, leaving it a little chunky).
Head over to toddler lunches for 17 more easy and healthy ideas perfect for 1 and 2 year olds!
Dinner Ideas for Babies
- Ricotta or cottage cheese, spaghetti sauce, spinach, and whole wheat noodles chopped coarsely through a blender or food processor. Also, give some pieces of noodles to finger feed
- Tilapia, steamed and slightly overcooked broccoli, and polenta
- Meatballs, barley, and diced carrots
- Mashed sweet potatoes, tender turkey breast or cutlet, and pieces of buttered bread
- Canned salmon (I always use wild Alaskan), quinoa, and diced apples/butternut squash
Find even more food ideas for babies and toddlers in Ultimate List of Baby/Toddler Meal Ideas and if you’re looking specifically for high calorie foods click on over to High Calorie Foods for Baby and Toddlers.
Want a Free Printable Finger Food List for Babies and Toddlers?
Yup, you heard me right, get a printable of tons of finger food ideas for babies, it’s something I’ve written about a lot here on Your Kid’s Table. You can print this out and hang it right on your fridge. I’ll send it right to your inbox!
More for Babies and Toddlers
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Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 14 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.