Babies/ development/ Eating/ Parenting/ Teaching

How many calories does a 1-year-old need? (June 2019)

How many calories does a 1-year-old need 2

So, your child has celebrated her first birthday, and it is the official year when you will notice her do a lot of activities and prepare herself for the advanced days waiting for her in the later years. Once the child is one year old, parents enjoy being with them more. The child does a lot of activities which are entertaining to the core. However, this is also a tedious year for parents, as they need to focus on the nourishment needs of the child. Often parents of 1-year olds feel confused about the feeding requirements of their child. Many such parents consult me for how many calories does a 1-year-old need? While I guide them the best and they try hard to follow same, things get worse, as the child might throw tantrums, won’t eat specific food items, deny eating anything all day and what not.

When I say that the child might not eat anything, I feel the concern of the parents as being a kindergarten teacher, I too deal with such children and making them eat is on the top priority of my list. But, I understand why the child is denying having the food or why this sudden drop in her appetite has occurred and let me explain it to you.

Your 1-year-old needs 1000 calories per day

Yes, 1000 calories are enough to fulfill the nutritional requirement of your one-year-old. The developmental rate of the child has slowed down in the second year compared to her first year as a baby. Now, the body needs lesser food as much as it can burn easily for day-to-day activities.

You need to offer your child healthy, highly nutritional and flavorsome food, to make sure it attracts the child, help her develop taste for all types of food and at the same time, fulfill her nutritional requirement. In this article, we will talk more about a kid’s nutritional requirement, how you can feed her 1000 calories in a day, what type of food should your offer to your 1-year-old, how much milk, water, and many such aspects. So, pick up your glasses and start reading the full blog to get the answer for all your curious questions!

What are calories and why your 1-year-old child needs them?

Before we take this conversation ahead, it is important to understand what calories are and why your child needs them? A calorie is a measurement unit, used to measure the amount of energythe body receives from any particular food item. When the food is digested, it makes energy which is consumed by the body for various processes and this energy is measured using the calorie unit. Calories are important for your child’s proper growth and it is important to feed healthy food to your child to fulfill her requirement for energy.

This energy is utilized by the body for proper functioning. The child also performs various day to day activities when fueled with energy. However, consuming calories should be balanced with proper burning of calories. While some amount of calories is automatically burned by the body, when utilized by the body for internal functioning, the remaining calories must be burnt by keeping your child active throughout the day. An active child burns the right amount of calories and also maintains a healthy body weight, which further aids in the developmental process.

1-year-old feeding schedule

Now that you understand what a calorie is, and how much calories your 1-year-old needs, it is time to discuss the best feeding schedule for a 1-year-old. First of all, your child’s bodily requirement is of 1000 calories and feeding anything less or more will cause you problem in long run. While feeding less would hamper the developmental cycle of the child, anything above 1000 calories can contribute to added weight, making your child obese at a young age. So, to stick to the 1000 calories plan, you must have a set feeding schedule in place. This will not only help you keep track of calories, but also feed healthy food at the right time and introduce new food items. But, stay prepared, feeding a one-year-old is not an easy task. Later in this article, I shall also share some tips on dealing with picky eaters, to help you stick to your feeding schedule. For now, let’s break down the feeding schedule in two categories.

  1. The first half of the second year 12-16 months old
  2. The second half of the second year 17-23 months old
How many calories does a 1-year-old need

The first half of the second year 12-16 months old

So, the child is one and you are concerned about many things. How often should 1 year old eat What should a 1-year old eat? And many other questions would bug you every now and then. Trust me, this feeding schedule is the answer to all your 1-year old feeding & dietary concerns. You must have already started feeding cereals, mashed potato and other such items to your one-year-old, it is now time to expand the food choices and set right time for every meal. Here is a typical feeding schedule for one-year-old.

7:00- 8:00 am or after 15-20 minutes from wake-up time; Breakfast:

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

10:00 am: Nap time (the child at this age must take two naps in the day)

12:00 pm or after 15-20 minutes from wake-up time; Lunch:

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

2:00 PM; Snack time:

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

2:30 PM: Second Nap

5:00- 5:30 pm; Dinner:

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

Make sure you do not feed the same item every time. Change the fruit as well as the complimentary food items to attract the child and make her eat.

The second half of the second year 17-23 months old

In the second half, the dietary requirements remain almost the same but the child requires less seep than before. Children in 17-23 months age group take only one nap. While you will have to feed them the same food and quantity (A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate) the feeding time would change. A typical feeding time table for a 17-23 months old would look like:

Breakfast: 7:00- 8:00 am or after 15-20 minutes from wake-up time

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

Lunch: 11:00 am:

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

Nap: 12:00 pm (Nap time is important for kids, you should know how to put your toddler to sleep)

Snack time:2:30 -3:00 pm or after 15-20 minutes from wake-up time

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

Dinner: 5:00- 5:30 pm

A glass of milk (4 Oz) with a straw, along with a fruit/ veggie, an item rich with protein and carbohydrate.

How much milk should a 1-year-old drink?

Let me answer this one of the most frequently asked questions by parents. Now you know the right feeding schedule for your child and I have also mentioned the amount of milk your child should consume in a day. A child should have approximately 16 OZ, distributed equally in 4 different meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks& Dinner). Yet, parents have many doubts about milk requirements, and to answer that, let us understand why your child needs milk in the first place.

Milk is the primary food of a baby. It is the first food that she consumes and probably one of the most important inclusions in her dietary chart. Milk is the richest source of Calcium and Vitamin D. These nutrients contribute towards healthy bone development in the human body. As recommended by experts, a toddler must 700 milligrams of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D in one day.

In reference to what type of milk a child should eat, pediatricians recommend whole-fat milk for 12-24 years old. Whole fat milk helps the child receive the right amount of dietary fat for body and brain development. But, in case there are obesity concerns or the child has a family history of cholesterol, heart disease or any such concern, it is best to consult the pediatrician to get a type of milk recommended for the child.

What should you do when your child is allergic to dairy?

Yes, there are children who are allergic to dairy. It will take you some time to identify their allergic nature, but once you do, stop feeding them any dairy item. To fulfill the need of calcium in such children, you will have to explore other sources of calcium. Some of the options easily available are fortified breads, soy milk, dried beans, juices, and many dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and bok choy.

What can I feed to my 1-year old?

Hope you have a clear idea about the milk requirements of your child. But, besides milk, her taste buds crave for other flavors as well. It is important to note here that introducing flavors to the child at the right time help eliminate the picky eater trait. Dealing with a picky eater can be real trouble and I can tell it with my experiences. So, let us learn what all you can feed to your 1-year-old.

Feeding a healthy diet to your child is important and there are a lot of food items that are counted as healthy, such as:

  • Milk and dairy products: Protein
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Carbohydrate-rich food
  • Healthy Fats

You can include a lot of variety in your child’s day to day menu. For dairy products, you can add full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, soft pasteurized cheese and more. To offer right carbohydrates, feed them iron-fortified cereals made of oats, barley, wheat, and more. You can also full fill the carbohydrate requirement by feeding whole-grain pasta, rice or bread.

There are several choices for fruits such as melon, apple, papaya, grapefruit, oranges and more. Balance the fruits with vegetables and include broccoli, potato, cauliflower, and other similar vegetables. Some additional food choices include butter, peanut butter, clarified butter, beans, meat, poultry (egg and chicken), tofu, and more. Make sure you feed all meat & egg items properly cooked as uncooked food has severe consequences for the child.

Some quick recipes for your 1-year-old

If you are wondering, why recipes for a one-year-old? You must know that feeding a one-year-old can be the most maddening task you would have ever done. They aren’t able to communicate, the teething is at its peak, they are obsessed with throwing food and there is sever choking hazard. Dealing with all these concern, you will have to feed a 1-year-old, 1000 calories in a day. Yes, you get the point. Moreover, you, as a couple, might not be eating the best of the healthy foods, so, you need to make special preparations for the child and for this, and I am listing a range of recipes. So here are some easy to make and equally nutritious recipes for your 1-year-old munchkin:


Homemade apple sauce is great food for one-year-olds. The sauce is easy to make and you can serve them with complimenting food items. For example pasta salad, toasted bread and more.


Pasta is an easy to digest food items and a rich source of carbohydrate. However, to make it easy to eat for kids, cook it just a little bit more than al-dente texture. Also, make sure you give them pasta in small pieces to avoid choking.


Another great source of carbohydrate and energy, rice bowls are a fun food item. Why fun? Because they offer you a lot of varieties to eat. You can cook them and mix with a range of fruits and vegetables, to make it exciting for the child. Even Yogurt rice is one great food recipe.


Yes, but not the crispy one, but a sift taco bread is great baby food. You can offer it with a range of fillings to your child, however, these fillings should be kept on the plate and not placed inside the taco.

Quinoa salad:

Quinoa is a great whole-grain food that is equally beneficial for adults and kids. Mixing boiled quinoa with fruits and veggies can help you make a tasty and salad for your little munchkin.

Scrambled/ boiled egg:

A quick and easy to make recipe, scrambled/ boiled eggs are loved by kids. It is also a very healthy breakfast option for your child. However, make sure that the egg is fully cooked.

Baked sweet potato/ potato

Baked potato or sweet potato is a perfect snack item to serve to your child. You can add a little spice (salt and pepper) to the baked potato/ sweet potato will make amazing solutions.

Tips for feeding your 1-year-old:

With all those recipes discussed, it is now time to address the elephant in the room. Yes, we know kids need 1000 calories and it should come from healthy food items. But, how will you make them eat this 1000 calories? For parents already dealing with picky eaters, and those who do not want to make their child one, here are some tips on feeding the child:

  • Divide the 1000 calories in different meals and fulfill the nutrition requirements of your child. But, not every toddler likes to eat every time and hence may stay deprived of the right nutrition. For this, make sure that the calories are balanced every time the child skips a meal. However, do not feed all 1000 calories at once.
  • Introduce an eating schedule, place and help your child eat. If you haven’t already started the provision of feeding table, this is the right time. My personal favorite is Evenflo Convertible High Chair, Dottie Lime. First of all, it is a high chair that allows interactive feeding, secondly, it can be converted into a low chair wherein the child can be seated right above the floor. The chair is also visually attractive and encourages the child to eat. Feeding chairs are certainly a great help in making your fussy child eat healthy food. I have a special article in my pipeline which will be all about feeding chairs and how they are helpful for both parents and the child.
  • Make food colorful to attract the child. Young toddlers are attracted to colors and if they get them in their food, they tend to eat. Add a lot of colorful fruits to the food as well as vegetables.
  • Do not push your child to eat. Too much pressure of eating can make them a rebel and you certainly do not want it to happen.
  • Keep the spices in control as one-year-old have very sensitive tastebuds. Too much spiced, buttered, salted or sweetened food might make them hate the food, forever.

Feeding your child is tough, but this guide will definitely help you make the best out of it. To make sure your child eats everything, start sharing a meal with her. This will encourage her to try everything, as she will see you eat the same food.

So, to conclude, this was my guide to your child’s nutrition. This is a complete guide, and an important aspect of positive parenting, to ensure that your 1-year-old gets the right amount of calories and food to grow as a healthy individual. Make your feeding time fun with the recipes while ensuring the right schedule and enjoy the activities that your child does while growing up.

Do you have a question or a comment? please let me know. Leave a message!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply