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What To Feed A One Year Old

Weaning is the start of a really exciting adventure, one where you get to introduce your baby to the wonderful world of flavours, textures and tastes. Moving on from breast milk or cow’s milk to solid foods might not always feel like smooth sailing. But, with a little patience (and by taking their funny faces in your stride), you’ll quickly find the foods your little one loves. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get your child eating fruits and veggies alongside their baby food. They’re easy to prepare as snacks, and just the right size for little hands. We’ve brought mum and author Rebecca Wilson on board to share her meal ideas and tips for weaning your baby without having to make multiple dishes. You can use these tips for older children too. So, if you’re also wondering how to get your kids to eat vegetables, keep reading.

Weaning can often be a slow but rewarding process, with your mini-me discovering the tastes and textures they’ll love for the rest of their lives. It’s likely they’ll probably dislike some of them, too – then eat them by the bucketload when they’re grown-up. To avoid picky eaters and get your kids eating veggies, the more variety you can offer their little taste buds, the better. 

The kid-friendly dinner ideas below aren’t just designed for your baby. They’re all dishes, created by Rebecca Wilson, that are packed with healthy food and can be made for the whole family. So you can stop googling “what to feed a one-year-old” or “toddler vegetable recipes”, as cooking multiple meals at dinnertime is officially a thing of the past. These ideas are packed to the brim with healthy stuff, like earthy beetroot, creamy avocado, and zesty lemons.

Lemon Risotto

The citrusy taste of this risotto is sure to get your baby pulling an interesting face or two. It’s a great way to introduce your child to dairy products as the butter and cheese, alongside the risotto, creates a comforting, creamy texture. This makes the taste a little less sharp, and means it’s a great way to introduce little ones to lemon. They’ll also get a taste of other flavour-packed foods like garlic and onion. The small size of the risotto makes it easy finger food for your little one, so they can work on feeding themselves. Is there a better way to let them discover what they like the taste of?

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Pink Beetroot Pesto Pasta

Colour and interactivity make meals more fun: this bright pink pasta will definitely catch your baby’s eye. You can use whatever pasta you like for this recipe as it’s the pesto that gives it the fun colour. Baby will get to try garlic, cheddar, and nutty flavours, plus black pepper. Pasta tubes are also a great size for self-feeding little ones and toddlers. The earthy beetroot is the main taste in this dish, but add some chopped chives to the table for an onion-flavoured addition, and a sprinkling of green on top.

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Instant Avocado Choccy Mousse

Intrigue your little one with this bitter cocoa flavour, without the need for any added sugar. It couldn’t be simpler to make; pop all your ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth, then serve with fresh berries. Chop up your avocado to make this part easier. If you prefer a firmer consistency, just pop your mousse in the fridge to chill for a few hours. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, so if it’s a winner with your kids, you can treat them to it over a few meals. It’s super-satisfying, and will be a family favourite in no time.

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Top tips for weaning your baby from Rebecca Wilson

We also asked Rebecca Wilson, mum and author of the Sunday Times best-selling cookery book, What Mummy Makes, to explain her top tips for weaning your baby. She suggests getting them to try every food more than once, and cooking the same meal you’re eating to make them feel comfortable tasting something new. 

Q: There’s a theory that we’re naturally repulsed by bitter flavours because, back in the days of our ancestors, they indicated that a foraged food might be poisonous and best avoided. Do you think weaning is about overriding some sort of biological ‘programming’?

A: It’s possible, but I also think that we don’t realise how much of our own personal judgment of flavours passes on to our children. We give our wee ones lemon, wait for them to make a funny face, then say, “Oh dear, it’s too sour! I’ll take it away.” But when they’re little, it’s actually a great time to let them explore and enjoy a wide variety of flavours. My daughter loves spinach and eats lemons like they’re oranges – not a hint of ‘natural’ repulsion! Of course, for the first six months of their lives or so, all babies have is this rather sweet milk, and then all of a sudden you’re giving them something that’s a complete contrast. It’s bound to be a bit startling! But the more variety you offer from the moment you start weaning, the more they’re going to learn that this is food, not milk – sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s bitter or sour – and the more they’re going to start to enjoy it.

Q: What’s the trick to getting children to accept new foods?

A: Try and try again! Exposure is key: just keep offering a wide range of flavours. If they refuse a certain food, try it again in a week’s time, or three weeks’ time – otherwise, before you know it, they’ll only be eating a handful of things. It’s about introducing them to different textures too: when you first start weaning your baby, it’s a great idea to offer the same food pured that you’re giving them as finger food. So often the doubtful expressions come from the fact that there’s an odd texture in their mouth, but you need to teach them that it’s normal to feel different sensations.

Q: Once children have become fussy eaters, or have reached a certain age, is it too late to start broadening their culinary horizons?

A: I couldn’t stand brussels sprouts when I was a teenager; now I love them. I believe it’s never too late. Think of all the foods you thought were a bit icky when you first tried them: bitter coffee, umami mushrooms, pungent blue cheese… These are things that many of us have come to love over time, as adults. The same applies to little ones: the more they’re offered something, the more likely they are to enjoy it. If there’s only a small number of foods that your child likes, still offer them, but put something new on the plate at every meal. It’s a good idea to offer the new foods in small pieces, so they don’t seem overwhelming and it’s easy to have just a little bit and move on. Be consistent in your approach, stay calm (hard, I know!) and try to make mealtimes fun. Play some music, talk about the food – and smile! I find that helps a lot.

Q: Your ethos is about cooking once for the whole family, rather than catering separately for children. How does that help develop better eating habits?

A: They’re reassured by watching you eat the same food, and that can encourage them to be more adventurous. When I was weaning my daughter, I started making things that she could eat too. I noticed how beneficial it was to eat together. Not only was she being exposed to lots of different flavours, but watching me was helping her learn how to eat, both physically and emotionally. Food isn’t just about nutrition: it’s about the whole experience, from shopping to cooking to eating, and especially sharing it with people around you.

Check out these back to school recipes, which include even more easy and nutritious meals and snacks for your little ones.

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