Introducing different food textures – 1–3 years

By around one year of age, your child should be eating more of the family foods on offer in the home, chopped up as needed.

It’s important to be aware of choking risks, and minimise these when necessary by altering the size or texture of some foods, as described under Foods that pose a higher choking risk for children under five years of age.

Your toddler is ready for many different spoon and finger foods if they:

  • can hold cup with two hands and drink from it
  • have molar teeth (used to mash and grind food) coming through. This starts between 12–18 months and they’re fully erupted and functioning from two and a half years (30 months) of age
  • can easily use their hands and fingers to feed themselves
  • are more skilful at chewing (have a rotary chewing movement where food is moved in a circle pattern around the mouth)
  • bite through a variety of textures.

Examples of appropriate foods

  • All previously provided foods are still appropriate
  • Pieces of soft fruit and vegetables
  • Hard fruit and vegetables (eg, apple or carrot) should be cooked, or grated if raw
  • Cook meats until tender and chop finely. Add chopped meat to mashed food if desired. Finely chopped meat gives children opportunity to develop chewing skills while remaining safe
  • Bread (eg, sliced wholemeal, rēwena, chapatti, buns and rolls) cut to a size your toddler can easily hold and eat
  • Pasta or noodles
  • Sandwiches should be thin and cut to a size small hands can easily hold. Use thinly sliced or moist spreadable ingredients, finely shred or chop salad leaves and avoid whole salad leaves
  • Puffed crispbread
  • Corn chips softened with meat sauce
  • Over time introduce harder crackers with caution

Find out more from the Ministry

The Ministry works to ensure that nutrition recommendations for New Zealand health practitioners and consumers have a sound evidence base.

Visit the Nutrition section in Our work to find out more, or read the Food and Nutrition Guidelines:

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