What Should a 14-Month-Old be Eating?

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
What should a 14-month-old baby be eating?

Thanks.

ANSWER

By 14 months old, your toddler can eat the same food as the rest of the family (with a few exceptions) BUT the food should be chopped or mashed into bite-size pieces that they can handle.

After 1 year of age, you can start to give your toddler whole milk to drink (you should not use low fat or fat free till after 2 years old). You can also get more creative with the rest of their diet at this point such as introducing new fruits and vegetables. They can be very picky at this age!

You should continue to avoid foods that can be choking hazards such as hot dogs, raw vegetables (should be cooked or shredded), and string cheese (cut cheese into very small bite size pieces). Cut whole grapes, cherry tomatoes, and melon balls into quarters before serving to your toddler. Hard candies such as gumdrops, cough drops, nuts, popcorn, lollipops, raisins, and other small dried fruit, seeds, and chewing gum can all be potential choking hazards. Also avoid certain soft foods that might get lodged in your child's throat, like marshmallows, peanut butter (don't give large chunks, instead spread it thinly on bread or crackers) and jelly candies.

It is also important to be aware of highly allergenic foods. Most kids can handle common allergens by the time they are one but if you are concerned about food allergies such as tree nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, or shellfish experts suggest delaying these foods till your child is at least 3.

If you have specific questions on what your child should be eating or about specific food allergies speak with your child's pediatrician.

Thank you for your question.

-- Kimberly A. Tessmer, R.D., L.D.

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.