baby feeding

Food from 18 months to 3 years old: can baby eat everything?

Food from 18 months to 3 years old: can baby eat everything?

Feeding evolves from baby’s birth until he is 3 years old. Little by little, we introduce new foods, new tastes, new textures… And if up to 6 months, the main food is milk, from four months, and with the agreement of the pediatrician, we begin to change our eating habits. This is called dietary diversification.

What an 18-month-old child eats: the ideal food

Baby is a year and a half, that’s it! From the age of 18 months, four meals a day are essential : breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Discover the essential foods that will cover all of your child’s nutritional needs.

Essential foods every day

  • 3 to 4 dairy products;
  • A portion of meat, fish or egg;
  • 4 parts starch (bread, pasta or rice);
  • 2 to 3 servings of vegetables;
  • 2 to 3 fruits.


Starches contribute to the functioning of muscles and the brain and provide energy that is gradually released in the body. They therefore help wait for the next meal without feeling hungry.

  • 18 months: 5 to 6 tablespoons per day;
  • 3 years: 6 to 8 tablespoons per day.

Good to know : if the midday meal or the evening meal is accompanied by a slice of bread, you will remove a spoonful of starchy foods.

5 fruits and vegetables a day

Fruits and vegetables provide simple carbohydrates (fuel for the brain and muscles), fiber (good for transit), minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.), vitamins (A, B, C), trace elements (iron, manganese) essential for the proper functioning of his body.

  • 18 months: 5 to 6 tablespoons of vegetables and 2 fruits per day;
  • 3 years: 6 to 8 tablespoons of vegetables and 2 fruits per day.

Good to know : the fruit corresponds to the value of the closed fist of the child. Thus for small handcuffs, half an apple corresponds to the value of a whole fruit.

Eggs, fish or meat every day

Main constituents of muscles, bones, skin, the proteins contained in fish, meat or eggs are involved in many functions of the body.

  • 18 months: 20 g per day;
  • 3 years: 30 g per day.

Good to know : give him meat, fish or eggs for lunch or dinner. Always in less quantity than the accompaniment (starches, vegetables).

How much milk for a 1, 2 and 3 year old baby?

The National Health Nutrition Program (PNNS) recalls“that from the age of 1, even if your child eats other dairy products, he always needs to drink milk (approximately 500mL per day) for breakfast and snacks”.

Breastfeeding is still possible. “Otherwise, from 1 year and up to 3 years, give if possible “ growth milk because it is enriched with iron. Powder formulas are less expensive.”

Do not hesitate to introduce cheese into his diet: try Emmental, Comté, or even stronger cheeses like Roquefort or Camembert. These new flavors will amaze baby’s taste buds!

You should know that up to 3 years, baby’s nutritional needs remain about the same. The food you give him should beperfectly balanced to ensure its growth.

But we must not forget that baby is growing up, and therefore has higher needs than an adult calcium, iron and fat! On the contrary, it needs less protein and sodium. The amounts of vegetables and starches will always be the same, but the quantities of meat or fish will gradually increase.

For everything that is dessert, as usual, we will opt for a portion of dairy and fruit, and to the dessert you can add a slow sugar such as bread or biscuit.

It is also becoming more and more autonomous: he can now eat the same foods as adults, because he can chew properly. He will then take his meals at the table, with the adults. The latter becomes a moment of sharing, you should set an example by adopting good eating habits too!

At 3 years old, can babies really eat like grown-ups?

At 3 years old, your child now shares the family table. No more small dishes cooked just for him, we teach him to eat like the grown-ups! But are all dishes allowed?

Cook him a minced steak?

As long as they are very fresh, why not? The problem is not so much in terms of digestion as one might think, but in the storage conditions.

A butcher’s ground beef, like all raw meats, must be consumed within two hourshis purchase to prevent the proliferation of bacteria such as salmonella, responsible for food poisoning.

Charcuterie for my baby?

Sausage, rillettes and pâtés have a bad reputation because of their high rate of bad fats (saturated fatty acids). However, not all deli meats have the same content.

From time to time, a slice of country pâté, a slice of andouillette or dry sausage will be less caloric than a mousse of foie gras or a slice of salami.

Even better, the white ham rolls stuck on a toothpick! However, there is no need to abuse it.

Tartars and sushi as a dish?

As for sushi and fish eaten raw, before any consumption, they must have been kept for 24 hours at a temperature below 20°C, in order to ensure the total elimination of a small parasitic larva, the anisakis, which causes digestive disorders.

What about fast food?

We totally agree. Nutritionally, a fast-food meal is not the best in terms of balanced diet! You can often find there “junk food” : fries, steaks and sodas! But let’s not demonize this food either…

Once in a while, it’s festive, as well as a birthday party or a family reunion with a supporting buffet. Rather than the “big” fried, he’ll take the model below, some nuggets or the basic burger, and a yogurt drink. You will catch up with green vegetables at the next meal.

Baby food between 1 and a half and 3 years old: the answers to your questions

Which cereal for an 18 month old baby?

Iron is an essential nutrient for babies. During food diversification, we generally introduce cereals in the form of flakes, specially designed for babies. Choose whole grain cereals and avoid anything fried! For starches, you can give him potatoes, rice, pasta, sweet potato, quinoa, bulgur, corn…

How much water should a baby drink?

During the first 6 months of life, milk is enough for baby to stay hydrated. During food diversification, he still drinks at least half a liter of milk a day. Then you can give him water in small amounts a few times during the day. Be aware, however, that babies do not feel thirsty. Don’t force him to drink if you see he doesn’t want to.

Do not hesitate to offer water by the cup or glass from 6 months.

What about breakfast then?

Everyone knows the importance of breakfast for children. It’s the first meal of the day, which breaks the night fast, and gives the toddler energy! From 12 months, a bottle of milk alone is no longer enough. Breakfast will be the same from 18 months to 3 years old baby:

  • Growth milk (after 3 years, semi-skimmed milk will be perfectly suitable);
  • grain productto be supplemented with another starch, such as a slice of butter-jam bread;
  • Additionally, you can provide a fruit juice (fresh!) or fruit. To note : “fruit juices, squeezed or commercial (even without added sugar) and fruit drinks are very sweet and are not recommended. Also don’t give sodas, even light,” writes the National Health Nutrition Program (PNNS) in its file (Source 1).

Baby and sugar: be careful

“Think of limit certain foods such as sugar, honey or chocolate”, warns the PNNS in its article (Source 1). Similarly, if possible, when the baby is under 3 years old, do not buy cookies or other sugary foods on the market, often too fatty and sweet. “Try to cook without adding salt and don’t re-salt store-bought jars (they have just the right amount of salt for your child).”

Can we make some deviations?

“It is best to limit pastries, cakes, biscuits, chocolate as much as possible and introduce them as late as possible in the child’s diet”, notes the PNNS (Source 1).

However, the food balance is also done on the week. Your little gourmet has the right, once a week, a plate of fries, a pastry. On those days, you will rebalance this food gap on the other meals, for example by removing a ration of starchy foods, the sugar in the yogurt or the honey on the snack!

How to feed a baby who refuses to eat?

Baby is difficult, he often refuses to eat? There are tips:

  • Privilege small quantities, and small plates! Baby will be more apt to eat small portions;
  • Make sure he eats regular hoursIts very important ;
  • In the same idea, in order to ritualize the moment of the meal, introduce a little play time, then the bath before eating.

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