Best food for 15 months baby

Baby and toddler meal ideas

If you need some inspiration to help you cook healthy and tasty food for your kids, try these meal ideas.

They are not suitable as first foods, but fine once your baby is used to eating a wide range of solid foods. Read more about your baby's first solid foods.

When preparing food for babies, do not add sugar or salt (including stock cubes and gravy) directly to the food or to the cooking water.

You can find more meal ideas and recipes on the Start4Life website.

Breakfast ideas for babies and young children
  • unsweetened porridge or lower-sugar cereal mixed with whole milk and topped with fruit, such as mashed ripe pear or banana
  • wholewheat biscuit cereal (choose lower-sugar options) with whole milk and fruit
  • lower-sugar breakfast cereal and unsweetened stewed apple with plain, unsweetened yoghurt
  • toast fingers with mashed banana and smooth peanut butter (if possible, choose unsalted and no added sugar varieties)
  • toast fingers with a hard-boiled egg and slices of tomato, banana or ripe peach
  • toast or muffin fingers with scrambled egg and slices of tomato

Lunch ideas for babies and young children
  • lamb curry with rice
  • cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta pieces
  • baked beans (reduced salt and sugar) with toast
  • scrambled egg with toast, chapatti or pitta bread served with vegetable finger foods
  • cottage cheese (full-fat) dip with pitta bread, cucumber and carrot sticks

Dinner ideas for babies and young children
  • mashed sweet potato with chickpeas and cauliflower
  • shepherd's pie (made with beef or lamb and/or lentils or vegetarian mince) with green vegetables
  • rice and mashed peas with courgette sticks
  • minced chicken and vegetable casserole with mashed potato
  • mashed canned salmon with couscous and peas
  • fish poached in milk with potato, broccoli and carrot

Finger foods for babies and young children

Finger food is food that's cut up into pieces big enough for your child to hold in their fist with a bit sticking out. Pieces about the size of your own finger work well.

Examples of finger foods:

  • soft-cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, parsnip and sweet potato
  • carrot or cucumber sticks and avocado
  • fresh fruits, such as apple (soft-cooked if needed), banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
  • toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
  • strips of meat without bones, such as chicken and lamb
  • cheesy (full-fat) toast fingers and cucumber
  • hard boiled eggs
  • omelette fingers

Healthy snacks for young children

Babies under 12 months do not need snacks; if you think your baby is hungry in between meals, offer extra milk feeds instead.

Once your baby is 1 year old, you can introduce 2 healthy snacks in between meals:

  • vegetables such as broccoli florets, carrot sticks or cucumber sticks
  • slices of fruit, such as apple, banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
  • pasteurised, plain, unsweetened full-fat yoghurt
  • toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
  • small strips of cheese

Getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables

It may take up to 10 tries, or even more, for your child to get used to new foods, flavour and textures.

Be patient and keep offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, including ones with bitter flavours such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and cabbage.

Try to make sure fruits and vegetables are included in every meal.

Try these ways to help your child eat more fruit and vegetables:

  • give carrot sticks, cucumber stick or slices of pepper with hummus as a snack
  • give apple slices with smooth peanut butter as a snack
  • mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes, meat sauces or dhal
  • add vegetables to classic savoury dishes such as cottage or shepherd's pie, spaghetti bolognese or casseroles
  • chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or plain, unsweetened yoghurt, or add them to a stew
  • for a tasty dessert, try mixing fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with plain, unsweetened yoghurt.

Read more about how to help your baby enjoy new foods and fussy eaters.

Drinks for babies and young children

From around 6 months, breast milk and first infant formula should continue to be your baby's main drink.

Whole cows' milk can be used in cooking or mixed with food from around 6 months but shouldn't be given as a drink until they are 12 months old. Whole milk should be given to children until they are 2 years old, as they need the extra energy and vitamins it contains.

Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced once your child is 2 years old, as long as they are a good eater and they have a varied diet.

Skimmed and 1% milk are not suitable for children under 5 years old, as they do not contain enough calories.

Sugary squashes, flavoured milk, "fruit" or "juice" drinks and sugary fizzy drinks can cause tooth decay, even when diluted. These drinks can also fill your child up so they're not hungry for healthier food. Instead, offer sips of water from a cup with meals.

Read more about drinks and cups for babies and young children.

Further information
  • Foods to avoid giving babies and young children
  • Food allergies in children
  • What to feed young children
  • Toodler food: common questions
  • Children's food: safety and hygiene

Healthy And Interesting Food Ideas For 15-Month-Olds

Age-appropriate, nutritious foods keep your little one healthy and nourished.


MomJunction believes in providing reliable, research-backed information to you. As per our strong editorial policy requirements, we base our health articles on references (citations) taken from authority sites, international journals, and research studies. However, if you find any incongruencies, feel free to write to us.

Image: Shutterstock

Once your tiny tot hits 15 months, they can distinguish different tastes and may change their food habits. At this age, they would want to have more than just pureed and mashed foods. Hence, you could consider trying some healthy food ideas for 15-month-olds. These food options need to be healthy as well as appeal to your infant’s changing tastes.

Since your baby needs to have at least three meals a day with healthy snacks in between, you may want to try out various recipes. Hence, we have compiled a list of the best food ideas for a 15-month-old baby.

Foods You Can Feed A Toddler

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 50% of the calories should come from fat during the initial two years after birth (1). And the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests nearly 13 grams protein for a 15-month-old every day (2).
Therefore, plan a balanced meal wherein you add one source of protein to one source of carb with adequate amounts of fat to complete the dish. The meal plan for a 15-month-old can be a mix cereals, bread, rice, wheat, pasta, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dry fruits, dry beans, oil, milk, and dairy products. Below we list the essential foods that you may feed your baby.

Related: Rice Cereal For Babies: Health Benefits And Nutritional Value

1. Cow’s milk (whole or full cream milk)

Several mothers ask us, “How much milk for a 15-month-old?” You may give 360-480ml cow milk (3) every day to meet the daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D.

  • As your baby is a toddler now, offer them cow milk in a cup and not in a bottle.
  • Divide 480ml of milk into three servings and these can be given in any form, such as milkshakes, puddings, yogurt, paneer, custard, etc., to offer a variety rather than plain milk. But always remember to give one form only once a day.
  • You may continue or stop breastfeeding now. You no longer have to offer formula milk as the solid food diet caters to all the requirements.

2. Fresh fruits and vegetables

Encourage your toddler to develop a taste for as many unprocessed, fresh foods as possible. This includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that will not only add color to the plate but also make your baby’s meal nutritious. The daily dose of such a meal will help your toddler get a good supply of the basic nutrients necessary for growth and development.

Related: 16 Best Vegetables For Babies From Infancy To One Year

3. Cereals

Cereals are good sources of carbohydrates, which is the main source of energy to the body. A toddler needs the energy to fuel the developmental changes happening in their body. Hence, include several varieties of cereals, such as rice, wheat, and millets, in their daily diet, given during different times of the day. Fortified cereals with no added sugar or salt or artificial coloring can also be added to the diet.

4. Protein and fat diet

Protein-rich foods are a must in the toddler’s diet. If you prefer animal protein, add meat, chicken, and egg for a balanced intake of fat and protein. You can also try fish like salmon, canned light tuna, catfish, and pollock. But as you do so, remember to cook them well.
If you prefer vegetarian protein sources, cheese is a good source. It makes a great finger food for a 15-month-old and can be included in almost any meal. Similarly, add a variety of pulses to the diet. You can also add nuts and seeds in the meal but mash or powder them to avoid choking.

Note: Introduce one new food at a time with brief waiting periods. Look for signs and symptoms of any allergy which might come up with the addition of new foods in the diet.

Diet Chart For 15-Month-Old Babies

Early morning

      • ½ to 1 cup whole milk


      • ½ cup iron – fortified breakfast cereal or 1 cooked egg
      • Add fruit to cereal or offer as it is
      • ½ banana, sliced
      • 2–3 sliced strawberries


      • 1 slice toast or whole wheat muffin
      • Apply 1–2 tablespoons cream cheese or peanut butter, or yogurt
      • A few fruit slices
      • ½ cup whole milk


      • ½ Sandwich sliced turkey or chicken, tuna, egg salad, or peanut butter
      • ½ cup cooked green vegetables
      • ½ cup cereal

Evening snack

      • 2–3 tablespoons fruits or berries or 1–2 ounces cubed or string cheese
      • 1 cup whole milk


      • 2–3 ounces ground or diced cooked meat
      • ½ cup cooked yellow or orange vegetables
      • ½ cup pasta, rice, or potato
      • ½ cup whole milk

Source: Healthychildren. org

Simple Homemade Recipes For 15-Month-Old

Here are a few simple homemade food ideas for your 15-month-old baby.

Breakfast recipes

1. Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Image: iStock

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 (adult)

You will need:
  • 3tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup wheat flour
  • 3tbsp sugar
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • Cooking spray
How to:
  1. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk them together.
  2. While whisking, combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and egg whites in a bowl. Add the mixture to the flour mixture. Stir well.
  3. Heat a nonstick griddle coated with cooking spray, over medium heat.
  4. Spoon around one-fourth cup onto the griddle, per pancake.
  5. Turn over the pancakes when the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges are cooked.
  6. Serve with syrup and butter.

2. Winter Squash Puree (Healthy Starter)

Image: iStock

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 to 1-1/2 cups

You will need:
  • 1tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp precut fresh or frozen winter squash or pumpkin cubes
  • Water or milk as needed
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix olive oil and squash in a bowl. Toss them.
  3. Spread the squash on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the squash for 20 minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth.
  5. Sieve the mixture and add water or milk to get the consistency.

3. Purple Puree

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2½ cups

You will need:
  • 1½ cups blueberries (puree)
  • 2 frozen spinach (10oz packages)
  • 1/2tsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp water
How to:
  1. Place spinach in a pan and add water. Boil, cover, and simmer for seven minutes.
  2. Drain the water. Make a puree of spinach, blueberry, water, and lemon juice until smooth.

4. Ragi Idli

Image: iStock

Prep time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 idlis

You will need:
  • 2 cups idli batter (fermented)
  • ½ cup nachi flour or ragi flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1tbsp oil (to grease)
  • 1/4 cup + 2tbsp warm water
How to:
  1. Add warm water and the flour to a bowl. And mix to get a thick paste.
  2. Add the paste to idli batter. Add salt. Stir gently.
  3. Set aside for nearly 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the water in a steamer and grease the plates with oil.
  5. Pour the batter into molds and place the idli stand in the steamer.
  6. Allow it to steam for ten minutes and serve warm.

Related: 8 Simple Steps To Prepare Ragi Porridge For Your Baby

5. Oats Chilla

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 chilla

You will need:
  • 1 cup oats
  • Water as needed
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1tsp cumin
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • ½ grated carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • Oil or ghee as needed
How to:
  1. Add powdered oats to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Add water as per requirement.
  2. Grease the oil on a pan. Heat it.
  3. Spread a ladle of batter on the pan. Drizzle oil around the edges.
  4. Flip it once it is cooked. Cook the other side too.

Healthy Snacks For 15-Month-Old

6. Oven-Roasted Green Beans (Finger Food)

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: ½ cup

You will need:
  • 1lb green beans (trimmed)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2tsp extra-virgin olive oil
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºC. Put jelly-roll pan for ten minutes in the oven.
  2. Take the beans in a bowl, sprinkle oil, add salt. Toss them well.
  3. On the pre-heat baking sheet, place bean mixture in a single layer.
  4. Bake for eight minutes until crisp and tender.

7. Dates Sesame Ladoo

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 20 min
Servings: 12 to 15 ladoos

You will need:
  • 300gm dates
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup cashews or peanuts (roasted)
  • 4 green cardamoms
How to:
  1. Take a pan, add sesame seeds. Dry roast them on the medium flame.
  2. Cool and powder them.
  3. Mash the dates well and add sesame seeds powder. Knead for a few minutes to get a soft mixture.
  4. Make it into small balls. Store in an air-tight container.

8. Pasta Kheer

Image: iStock

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4 servings

You will need:
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¾ cup pasta
  • ¼ cup jaggery syrup or organic sugar
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 ½ rice flour mixed in ¼ cup water or milk
How to:
  1. Boil water in a pan. Add and cook pasta for a few minutes.
  2. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Heat butter and ghee in a pan, add cashews (if desired). Keep them aside after roasting.
  4. Pour milk into the same pan and boil. Add pasta and allow it to cook.
  5. Take a cup and add rice flour, water, and milk. Mix well without lumps.
  6. Pour this into the pan slowly, while stirring.
  7. Allow the pasta kheer to thicken. Sprinkle cardamom seeds on it.
  8. Add jaggery syrup or organic sugar as a sweetener.

9. Carrot Puree

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4 cups

You will need:
  • 1 yam (peeled and cut)
  • 3 carrots (peeled and cut)
  • 2tbsp water
How to:
  1. Add yam and carrot to a pan with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Drain out water and puree the contents in a processor.

Related: Carrot For Babies: 11 Nutritious And Easy-To-Make Recipes

Lunch Ideas For A 15-Month Baby

10. Baby’s Little Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

You will need:
  • 1½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2tbsp uncooked pasta
How to:
  1. Add the chicken broth to a pan and bring it to a boil. Add pasta.
  2. Cook for seven minutes with intermittent stirring.

11. Khichdi (Indian Baby Food Recipe)

Image: iStock

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

You will need:
  • 2tbsp rice
  • 1tbsp tuvar dal (split red gram)
  • 2tbsp vegetables (grated and chopped)
  • Salt for taste
  • ½ tsp ghee
  • Turmeric (optional)
  • Pepper powder (optional)
How to:
  1. Wash the rice and dal together. Soak them in water for at least half an hour.
  2. Add chopped vegetables to the bowl containing rice and mixture.
  3. Pressure cook for two whistles on medium flame.
  4. After the pressure is released, mash the contents. Add salt, ghee, and turmeric. Mix well.

12. Yummy Warm Cereal

Image: iStock

Prep time:15 minutes
Servings: ½ cup (4 floz/125ml)

You will need:
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) pearled barley powder
  • Water (as needed) or milk
How to:
  1. Boil water in a pan and slowly pour the powdered barley. Whisk continuously as you pour.
  2. Keep stirring and allow it to cook for ten minutes.
  3. Add water or milk to get the desired consistency.

13. Curd Oats

Image: Shutterstock

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

You will need:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water/milk
  • ¾ cup fresh curd
  • Salt for taste
  • 1tbsp grated carrot or pomegranate seeds
  • 1tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped)
For seasoning:
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 1 finely chopped green chili
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1. 2 inch finely chopped ginger
  • 1tsp split black gram
How to:
  1. Cook oats in water for five minutes. Mix curd (well beaten) to the oats.
  2. Heat oil in a tempering pan and add all the ingredients for seasoning.
  3. Add this seasoning to the oat-curd mixture.
  4. Add salt and coriander leaves. Top with grated carrot or pomegranate seeds.

14. Curd Rice

Image: iStock

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

You will need:
  • 1 cup rice (cooked)
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 1.5 cup curd
  • 2tbsp cream
  • Salt to taste
For seasoning:
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 1 finely chopped green chili
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1.2 inch finely chopped ginger
  • 1tsp split black gram
How to:
  1. Mash the cooked rice add milk and keep stirring. Add the cream and curd.
  2. Heat oil in a tempering pan and add all the ingredients for seasoning.
  3. Add this mixture with oil to curd rice.

Related: Why Brown Rice Is Good For Babies

Dinner Ideas For 15-Month-Old Babies

15. Barley With Shiitakes And Spinach

Image: iStock

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 adult servings

You will need:
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 1/2tsp chopped dried rosemary
  • 8 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 3tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 8 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
How to:
  1. Heat oil on medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add garlic, rosemary, and onion. Saute for three minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms. Let them cook. Stir occasionally for eight minutes.
  3. Add cheese and spinach. Stir frequently. Cook for two minutes.


Banana & Avocado Guacamole

Image: iStock

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1½ cup

You will need:
  • 1 avocado (cut)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 garlic clove powder
  • ¼tsp lemon juice
How to:
  1. Scoop the flesh out of the Avacado half into a bowl.
  2. Peel banana, add the chunks into the Avacado bowl.
  3. Add garlic clove powder into the bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice.
  4. Mash them all using a potato masher.

17. Risotto Primavera

Image: iStock

Prep time: 40 minutes
Servings: 1½ cup

You will need:
  • 2 cups yellow squash (chopped)
  • 1½tsp olive oil
  • 3 cups asparagus (cut diagonally)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups leak (chopped)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1½tsp fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 32oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
How to:
  1. Take a pan, add asparagus, squash, salt, black pepper, and saute on medium flame. Keep aside.
  2. Pour water and broth to another pan and keep them on low heat.
  3. Take a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add leek and cook for five minutes. Add in one and half cup broth mixture, and cook.
  5. Add remaining broth mixture and keep stirring. Let the broth get absorbed.
  6. Add one-fourth cup thyme and cheese. Top it with veggies.

Things To Remember

You may try various recipes and combination of ingredients for the good of your baby. But you cannot force-feed them just because it is good for their health. Here are a few things to remember and dos and don’ts to follow:

1. Make food fun

It is now time to bring out your creativity with your toddler’s meal. Try pretending cauliflower or broccoli as trees on a mashed-potato island. Try cutting sandwiches, idlis, and more with cookie cutters to get them into the shapes of stars, animals, and more. Your little one would surely enjoy eating.

2. Eating habits change

Do not worry even if your toddler is a fussy eater. Their eating habits may change due to the change in the growth pattern. The food they loved last month may not remain the same now.
The toddler’s appetite may slow down in the second year, unlike the first year. Your baby must have tripled their birth weight in the first year, but the weight gain might slow down in the second year with an expected weight gain of just around 2.4kg.

3. Exploration time

It is time your little one is busy exploring the world and may not bother much about food. Also, their appetite is still not big enough to have one big meal. Be prepared for smaller meals several times all through the day.

4. No force, please

Remember, your toddler will eat when they are hungry. Do not force them to finish the plate or judge your little one by the quantity they are eating. Instead, check for their energy levels, physical as well as mental growth.

5. Allow self-feeding

Your toddler still needs your help while feeding but allow them to feed themselves if they want to. Do not worry if they get messy. A 15-month toddler will be able to hold and drink from a cup with a little assistance from an adult. They would show interest in eating with a spoon.

1. Why does my 15-month-old baby chew the food but not swallow it?

If babies chew the food and do not swallow, the process is known as food pocketing. This may happen from weak muscles of the face and neck, sensory issues, behavioral disorders, cleft lip or palate, autism, nervous system disorders, low birth weight, and stomach problems. Talk to your child’s doctor if you notice swallowing problems in children (4).

2. How much water should a 15-month-old drink?

The suggested water intake for a 15-month old is 8 to 32oz or one to four cups daily (5).

3. What are the best foods for my 15-month baby to gain weight?

A 15-month baby can gain weight by eating high-calorie foods. You may offer them avocados, boiled and mashed beans, bananas, lentils, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, whole milk yogurt, and fresh ground meat. Thinning these foods with formula, breast milk, or broth is ideal for feeding your baby (6).

Provide a balanced diet with fish, meat, and milk products for protein, fruits, vegetables, pulses, and cereals for your baby. A 15-month-old baby’s food usually contains pureed and finger foods. They can eat the same food prepared for the rest of the family but ensure that they contain less salt and spices. Avoid forceful feeding and allow the child to explore various foods and eat independently. Try presenting food in fun and creative ways to grab your baby’s attention. Whenever possible, try to eat together as a family to boost your bonding.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Feeding and nutrition tips: Your 1-Year-Old; Toddler Nutrition; Healthy Children (2016)
2. Protein; Nutrition For Everyone; Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2013)
3.Recommendations on milk intake for young children; Department of Health, Hong Kong
4.Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Children; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
5.Recommended Drinks for Young Children Ages 0-5; American Academy of Pediatrics
6.High Calorie Diet for Infants and Toddlers; UW School of Medicine and Public Health

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Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different. ..
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Dt. Pallavi Jassal specializes in diet and nutrition. With 18 years of experience, she is a senior consultant dietitian and nutritionist at LiveLifeMore Diet & Wellness Clinic, Chandigarh, India. She completed her B.Sc. (Dietetics) and M.Sc. (Foods and Nutrition) from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab. She is certified by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management and is a member of...
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how to choose and what kind of baby food is better?

The ideal "baby food" for an infant is breast milk. However, not all mothers can breastfeed their baby, usually this is due to the health of the mother or child. It happens that the woman herself has a serious condition after childbirth and in the early postoperative period, reduced lactation or diseases in which breastfeeding is contraindicated. In such cases, the baby is given formula milk - this is the only alternative to mother's milk. Subsequently, at four to seven months, complementary foods should be introduced into the child's diet, regardless of whether he is breastfed or artificial. The mother is faced with the task of choosing the right baby food for complementary foods.

In this article, we will talk about what foods for babies are and how to choose the best baby food.

Legislation under "baby food" means food products that meet the physiological needs of the body of a child under 14 years of age. And nutrition for young children is food intended for children from birth to three years[1]. It is necessary to make a diet taking into account the age of the baby and the characteristics of his physical condition.

The Union of Pediatricians of Russia created the National Program for feeding children in the first year of life and the National Program for optimizing the nutrition of children from one to three years old [2]. They describe recommendations regarding what formula to feed the baby from birth, how to introduce complementary foods and expand the baby's diet. These programs provide detailed information on what nutrients and nutrients should be included in the diet of children of different ages.

First you need to figure out what kind of baby food is[3]. Products for toddlers can be divided into two categories:

Infant formula. There are for children from birth to six months (formula 1 mixtures, or initial), from six months to a year (formula 2) and from a year (formula 3). The composition of such baby food is adapted, that is, as close as possible to the composition of breast milk.

  • In the initial mixtures, the amount of protein is reduced to 1. 2-1.5 g / 100 ml - in accordance with the composition of breast milk. They also changed the fat and mineral profile. The initial mixtures are enriched with such an essential amino acid as taurine, and micronutrients, probiotics, vitamins.
  • After six months, the baby's need for protein increases, mother's milk changes its composition. And babies on artificial feeding begin to be fed with a more nutritious mixture of formula 2. Taurine is no longer always needed: the body of a baby aged from six months to a year is able to synthesize this amino acid itself. Meanwhile, the content of iron, calcium, zinc increases compared to the initial mixtures, because by this age the child's reserves of minerals received from the mother during pregnancy are depleted, and they need to be replenished.
  • A child's diet changes after one year - he is already able to eat a variety of solid foods. However, it is advisable to continue to feed him with a mixture, though already formula 3. Pediatricians recommend it as a source of vitamins and minerals that the baby can easily absorb.

Complementary foods As we have already noted, it is introduced when the baby is four to seven months old. This interval is called the "critical window" and is considered optimal for the initiation of complementary foods for several reasons:

  1. The baby needs a wider range of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. In addition, his baby's digestive system is already ready to accept more solid and complex foods than mother's milk or infant formula.
  2. At this age, the child develops an interest in food, and it is necessary to offer him the right foods to develop his taste.
  3. During this period, the risk of developing a food allergy to a new product is lower.
  4. Timely introduction of complementary foods prevents the risk of micronutrient deficiencies and iron deficiency anemia.

Usually the first food is vegetable puree or monocomponent gluten-free cereals, dairy or dairy-free. Over time, cereals containing gluten, supplements from fruits and berries, and also consisting of several cereals are added. A six-month-old child can already be given several types of vegetables and cereals. Also, at about six months, they begin to give meat puree, then fruit, and from eight months - fish. A child from seven months is allowed the yolk.

From the age of 12 months, complementary foods already make up the majority of your baby's diet. At this age, it is especially important to diversify the child's diet: he can be given soups with small pieces of vegetables, meat, fish and cereals.


During the first feeding, the baby's eating habits are laid, and it depends on the parents how correct they will be. Often, mothers introduce fruit juices into complementary foods too early. And because babies have an innate preference for sweet tastes, they can become naughty and stop eating the unsweetened foods they need, especially vegetables. Unhealthy taste habits are formed, which can later provoke obesity.
Domestic doctors are concerned about such irrational nutrition of young children - due to the wrong approach to nutrition, many babies experience a deficiency of vitamins and an excess of fast carbohydrates.

How to choose baby foods

Finding the right foods for your baby is not an easy task. Store shelves are bursting with boxes, jars and bottles, and manufacturers write on every second package that the baby will be healthy, strong and cheerful after feeding. Of course, the baby will receive the necessary substances, no matter what product his parents choose, because all the production of baby food is strictly controlled by the state. By the way, Russia has some of the most stringent requirements for the quality of baby food in the world.

However, products for children differ in their properties. It is necessary to select food so that by the end of the first year of life the baby has actively developed chewing skills and an interest in independence, and the diet of complementary foods is reasonably varied.

For children from one to three years of age, the diet should be even more varied. It is important that the child receives daily something new from the main food groups: dairy, vegetables and fruits, meat and fish, cereals, butter and vegetable oil. Of course, the baby's diet should be expanded taking into account his state of health.

When organizing the nutrition of a child from the moment of introduction of complementary foods and up to three years, a mother needs not only to know what can be fed, but also to consider what foods should not be included in the diet. Among the prohibited products for children under three years of age:

  • any mushrooms, vegetables and fruits in a marinade;
  • pickles, preserves in tomato sauce;
  • commercial juice concentrates, carbonated drinks, coffee and strong tea;
  • various condiments - mustard, ketchup, hot sauces, horseradish, pepper, vinegar, mayonnaise;
  • products containing flavors, industrial colors, including chewing gum;
  • margarine and refractory fats - lamb, pork;
  • chocolates, sweets and other sweets.

To choose the right baby food, you need to know exactly what you should pay attention to and what you don't need to worry about.

When choosing mixtures, it is important to check:

  • Absence of palm oil. Formula manufacturers may use palm oil (more specifically palm extract) because, like breast milk, it is rich in palmitic acid. However, in human milk, palmitic acid is in the beta position, while in palm oil it is in the alpha position. Such alpha-palmitic acid can interfere with the absorption of calcium and fats and is generally less well absorbed by the child's body. This can negatively affect the work of the intestines, lead to constipation, regurgitation. Milk fat is better suited for baby food as a source of palmitic acid[4][5].
  • Protein ratio. Breast milk protein is primarily whey proteins and casein. A child needs both types of protein, while proteins are easily digested, which cannot be said about casein. If baby food contains a lot of casein, it stays longer in the digestive tract, which can cause problems with the baby's stool.
  • The presence of additional functional elements in the composition - lutein, nucleotides, pre- and probiotics. The task of lutein is to protect vision from ultraviolet rays. Nucleotides are low molecular weight compounds that promote the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria in the intestines. And pre- and probiotics in the composition of infant formulas help to establish comfortable digestion.

When choosing complementary foods, pay attention to:

  • Age appropriate. It is important that in the diet of a child under three years of age who receives complementary foods, special children's products predominate - in their composition the components are selected taking into account the age-related needs of the baby's body. It is impossible at an early age to transfer children to "adult" foods like pickles, smoked foods, fast food, and so on.
  • Fortified products. It is important that the composition contains vitamins and minerals. The National Child Nutrition Optimization Program recommends choosing complementary foods that contain elements designed to prevent anemia, rickets, and vitamin deficiencies.
  • For a varied diet. The menu for a baby up to six months is quite monotonous. But as they grow older, the baby needs more various nutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals.
  • For the individual reaction of the baby. If the child is already receiving complementary foods, then it is worth introducing a new product only after the previous one has been fully introduced. If the baby is allergic to the product, then it should be administered carefully, carefully checking the reaction of the body.

Ingredient safety testing is optional. Of course, the content of any "chemistry" in the product for feeding a child, whether it be a mixture or complementary foods, is unacceptable. There is no need to worry about this: baby food is carefully checked. If it is registered on the territory of the Customs Union and hit the shelves, then it complies with SanPiN 2. 3.2.1940-05 and there will be no "prohibited" components in its composition. Also, contrary to popular misconception, in Russia it is forbidden to use GMOs in children's products.


Baby food in jars (usually mashed potatoes) has a short shelf life after opening because it does not contain preservatives. However, before the jar is opened, the products can stand for quite a long time on the shelves of stores or in the refrigerator at home. This is possible thanks to a special production technology, sterilization and vacuum packaging. If a soft pop is heard when opening the jar, this is a good sign: the puree is not spoiled. But products in jars with swollen lids or a protruding bottom should not be used: microorganisms already multiply in such food, it is not suitable for food.

Features of the choice of dairy products

It is necessary to choose dairy products for babies, following the doctor's recommendations. The specialist will take into account the health of the baby, especially if he is allergic to cow protein. In Russia, such an allergy occurs in 30–40% of children [6]. Such a reaction may occur due to hereditary predisposition and immaturity of the organism. But most often, allergies go away when the child grows up.

Goat milk baby food may be a suitable option for young children with a predisposition to allergies. Its protein is perceived by the body better than cow's: alpha-s1-casein, contained in large quantities in cow's milk, makes a product based on it difficult to digest - food stagnates in the baby's gastrointestinal tract, motor skills are disturbed, as a result, allergies often occur. In goat milk, as in breast milk, there is practically no alpha-s1-casein [7]. Therefore, goat's milk, and hence the mixture based on it, are better absorbed.

Of course, with the introduction of complementary foods, other dairy products will appear in the baby's diet. Unadapted fermented milk drinks, such as kefir, yogurt, biolact, can be introduced into the diet from eight months and in an amount not exceeding 200 ml. Also during this period, it is recommended to give cottage cheese - no more than 50 g per day, but according to indications, it can also be prescribed from the age of six months. Whole milk cannot be used as the main food, and it is advised to introduce it into the diet of babies no earlier than a year (in the amount of 100-150 ml per day) [8]. As mentioned above, it must be adapted infant milk or formula 3 formula.

To choose the best baby food, it is necessary to take into account the health of the baby, his tastes, as well as individual reactions of the body. Therefore, before going to the store, you should consult a doctor. The specialist will not only tell you which baby food to choose, but also give recommendations on how to make the child's diet balanced and healthy.

Artificial feeding of a child at 1-12 months. Monthly complementary feeding schedule

Breast milk is the best food for your baby. But there are reasons why mothers resort to nutrition with adapted mixtures. How to properly organize the nutrition of a child from 1 month to 1 year on artificial feeding?

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The nutrition of a formula-fed infant aged 1 to 2 months should consist only of formula milk and boiled water. At 3 months, with the permission of the pediatrician, fruit juices are added to the baby's diet. At 4 months, you can try the first complementary foods - fruit purees. The body of a baby on artificial feeding perceives new food much easier than the body of a child who is breastfed. Therefore, if the child is healthy, you can change his diet with complementary foods already from 4.5–5 months, adding fruit and vegetable one-component juices and purees to the milk mixture.

You need to introduce complementary foods gradually, start with 1-2 teaspoons. If during the first few days of taking a new food, the child does not have allergic reactions, then the volume of the product can be increased.

After 6 months of life, milk porridge, cottage cheese and baby cookies can be included in the baby's diet. Starting from the 7th month, pediatricians recommend introducing different types of cereals into the menu - buckwheat, rice, semolina, corn and oatmeal.

Common Mistakes in Formula Feeding

When artificially feeding a child from a month to a year, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the recommendations of the pediatrician, as well as carefully monitor the baby's health. Consider the individual characteristics of the child's body and avoid changing the mixture too often. It is not necessary to transfer the baby to feeding with medicinal mixtures without sufficient grounds. It is also not recommended to rush to start complementary foods.


The volume and number of feedings per day depends on the age of the child. Specialists in the field of baby nutrition have developed the following table, which allows you to calculate the sufficient amount of food for a bottle-fed baby.

The following signs may become a signal for changing the feeding pattern of a child on artificial feeding:

  • development of allergic reactions
  • colic and bloating
  • regular regurgitation
  • stool disorders

Switching to another infant formula, as well as the exclusion of certain foods from the complementary food diet, should be carried out only with the appropriate recommendations of your pediatrician.

Learn more about artificial feeding newborns in our blog.

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