How much should a 1 year old eat at each meal?

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to how much a typical 1 year old should eat at each meal:

  • Breakfast: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of grains, fruit and yogurt/milk
  • Morning snack: 1/4 cup chopped fruit or vegetables, 1/3 cup yogurt
  • Lunch: 1/4 to 1/3 cup grains, 1 ounce meat/protein, 1/4 cup chopped vegetables, fruit
  • Afternoon snack: 1/4 cup chopped fruit or vegetables, 1/3 cup yogurt, crackers
  • Dinner: 1/4 to 1/3 cup grains, 1 ounce meat/protein, 1/4 cup vegetables

How Much Should a 1 Year Old Eat?

When it comes to feeding a 1 year old, parents often wonder how much food is enough. Here is a closer look at recommended portion sizes for each meal and snack throughout the day.


Breakfast is important to provide energy for the start of the day. Aim to include a grain, fruit and milk/yogurt. Some examples include:

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cereal, chopped fruit and breastmilk or formula
  • 1/4 cup yogurt mixed with diced fruit, 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • Scrambled egg, 1/4 cup diced mango, 3-4 oz breastmilk
  • Pancake cut into pieces, 1/4 cup strawberries, 3-4 oz whole milk

Morning Snack

A mid-morning snack helps tide your little one over until lunch. Good snack choices include:

  • 1/4 cup chopped soft fruits like banana, peach or pear
  • 1/4 cup chopped vegetables like steamed carrots or sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 whole grain waffle or slice of toast with peanut butter


Lunch should include one food item from each of the major food groups. Here are some examples:

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cooked pasta, chicken pieces, broccoli and orange slices
  • Cheese quesadilla cut into strips, black bean salad and milk
  • 1/4 cup tuna mixed with diced cucumber, 1/3 cup cottage cheese, crackers
  • Macaroni and cheese, steamed green beans, diced peaches

Afternoon Snack

Keep your child satisfied until dinner with another small snack such as:

  • 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cubed cheese and whole grain crackers
  • Banana slices spread with nut butter
  • Steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets with ranch dressing


Dinner can include familiar foods from lunch and breakfast. Some ideas include:

  • Scrambled egg, sliced strawberries, whole wheat toast
  • Tofu cubes, brown rice, steamed carrots, kiwi slices
  • Turkey and vegetable soup, whole grain roll, cooked spinach
  • Cheese ravioli, green beans, diced peaches

Focus on including one grain, one protein source, one vegetable and one fruit at dinner time.

How Much Milk Should a 1 Year Old Drink?

Milk is an important source of protein, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. Here are some guidelines for milk intake:

  • Breastfed babies: Continue offering breastmilk on demand
  • Formula fed babies: 25-32 oz formula per day
  • Cow’s milk: 16-24 oz whole milk per day

When your baby turns 1 year old, you can gradually transition them from breastmilk or formula to whole cow’s milk. Make the switch over a 2-3 week period, slowly replacing feedings with cow’s milk.

Sample Meal Schedule for a 1 Year Old

To give you an idea of how much a 1 year old should eat in a day, here is a sample meal and snack schedule:

Time Foods Serving Size
Breakfast Oatmeal, mashed banana, whole milk 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1/4 mashed banana, 4 oz milk
Snack Cheerios, cubes peaches 1/4 cup Cheerios, 1/4 cup diced peaches
Lunch Grilled cheese sandwich, green beans, strawberries 1/2 sandwich, 1/4 cup green beans, 1/4 cup strawberries
Snack Whole wheat crackers, cheese cubes 2-3 crackers, 1/4 cup cheese
Dinner Baked chicken, sweet potato, broccoli, pineapple 1 oz chicken, 1/4 cup sweet potato, 1/4 cup broccoli, 1/4 cup pineapple

This provides about 900-1000 calories from balanced sources of carbohydrates, protein and fat for a typical 1 year old.

Tips for Feeding a 1 Year Old

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to feeding a 1 year old:

  • Offer 3 meals and 2-3 small snacks during the day
  • Let your baby explore new textures and finger foods
  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, produce, lean proteins
  • Avoid added salt and sugars
  • Stick to whole milk and limit juice
  • Respect when your baby communicates they are full
  • Be patient – it takes time for them to learn to eat well
  • Make mealtimes enjoyable – no distractions or pressure
  • Offer new foods along with familiar options
  • Cut foods into safe, manageable pieces

Keep an eye on your baby’s growth and let their doctor know if you have any concerns. With time and practice, your 1 year old will become a healthy, happy eater!

Food Safety Tips

Proper food handling is important to avoid illness. Follow these tips when preparing your 1 year old’s meals and snacks:

  • Wash hands before and after handling food
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • Clean cooking surfaces and utensils after use
  • Separate raw meats from other foods
  • Cook foods to proper temperatures
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishables promptly
  • Do not thaw and refreeze foods
  • Discard foods that are past expiration dates
  • Avoid raw honey due to botulism risk

Signs Your 1 Year Old is Eating Enough

It’s normal for a 1 year old’s appetite to vary from day to day. Signs your child is getting sufficient nutrition include:

  • Steady weight gain and growth
  • Reaches developmental milestones
  • Has 6-8 wet diapers per day
  • Has soft, formed stools 1-2 times per day
  • Is playful and energetic
  • Sleeps well
  • Has good muscle tone

Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your baby’s eating habits or growth.

When to Introduce Cow’s Milk

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

  • Exclusively breastfeed for about the first 6 months of life
  • Continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months, and longer if desired
  • Introduce cow’s milk and solid foods around 6 months as complementary foods
  • Gradually transition from breastmilk/formula to cow’s milk between 12-24 months old

Most babies do well transitioning to cow’s milk over a 2-3 week period. Go slowly to allow their digestive system to adjust. Some babies may not tolerate cow’s milk until closer to 24 months.

Tips for Transitioning to Cow’s Milk

  • Start by mixing a quarter cup of whole milk with three quarters breastmilk/formula
  • Gradually increase the cow’s milk ratio over a 2-3 week period
  • Offer milk in a cup instead of a bottle to avoid overconsumption
  • Aim for 16-24 oz of whole milk per day
  • Make sure your baby is eating sufficient iron-rich solids too
  • Watch for signs of intolerance like diarrhea, rash or upset stomach

Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns when switching to cow’s milk.


Feeding a 1 year old can be an exciting and challenging time. While every baby is different, guidelines recommend about 1/4 to 1/3 cup servings of grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins at each meal. Offer 2-3 small snacks per day with finger foods like yogurt, cheese and chopped produce. Aim for 16-24 oz of whole milk daily. Respect your baby’s cues for hunger and fullness. With time and patience, your little one will become an adventurous, healthy eater!

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