Portions and healthy eating habits for babies

Nutrition experts recommend that for babies seven to 12 months old, standard food servings are:

  • Vegetables: Standard serve is 20g, 1.5 to 2 serves a day, 10 to 14 serves a week.
  • Fruit: Standard serve is 20 grams, 1 or 2 serve a day and 3 to 4 serves a week.

20 grams is about the weight of a packaged cheese slice.

You can encourage healthy eating habits by making mealtimes positive. If your baby sees their family eating vegetables, they are more likely to want it themselves. Praise your baby when they eat fruit and vegetables.

If they're not eating

It’s important not to force your baby to eat but rather allow them to decide if they eat and how much they eat.

If they’re not eating after 20 minutes, or if they are becoming tired and irritable, take the plate away. Just because your baby rejects a certain fruit or veggie doesn’t mean they don’t like it.

Offer the food again at a different time. Make sure you’re offering a variety of fruits and veggies for them to try.

Foods to avoid

There are some foods that you should avoid giving your baby. These foods include:

  • fruit juice, soft drinks, sports drinks and cordial (all high in sugar that can cause teeth decay)
  • honey (avoid for the first 12 months)
  • tea, coffee and chocolate drinks
  • unpasteurised dairy products (e.g. fresh from the farm)
  • hard foods such as nuts, chips, popcorn and lollies.

Moving away from a bottle

At 12 months, babies who are bottle fed should start weaning to a cup.

Here are some tips to break away from the bottle. Start these after six months:

  • Slowly reduce the amount of times you offer the bottle.
  • Offer a small cup of milk instead of the day-time bottle.
  • If your baby has been having a bottle as part of the bed-time routine, try to introduce a new bed-time routine such as story-time, having a small cup of milk before bed, or offering a cuddly toy.
  • When your baby starts food they can have a small amount of cooled boiled water from a cup.

As a general rule, water should be the main drink of choice in your family. It’s not recommended to give your child sweet drinks such as cordial, juice, soft drinks or flavoured water.

After your toddler’s first birthday they should have two cups of dairy a day - especially milk for growing bones. See: What a toddler should eat or drink