100 Foods Before One

by Natalee Gent, Registered Dietitian specializing in infant/toddler feeding.

The goal of Baby-Led Weaning is honoring a baby's intuitive eating response and allowing them to self feed. Another benefit is diet diversity as the baby is eating modified versions of the same food you are eating. Take advantage of your baby’s flavor window when they are most likely to accept any food. The flavor window is a period of time (*6-12 months*) where their tastes are most malleable. Exposure to a wide variety of tastes and textures is the BEST way to help prevent picky eating in the toddler years. Yes, some degree of picky eating is inevitable. However, if your baby has tried 100+ foods and starts to become a bit more “selective” you have a wide database to continue to offer foods they still accept. Does it mean you failed if you didn’t offer 100 foods before one? Absolutely not! Don’t let this challenge add more stress to your life, but instead use it in a way to motivate you to offer new foods. Babies can eat so many more foods than we give them credit for. Let them surprise you!

How to Get to 100

It takes work and time, but you’ll get there! You may have to go out of your way and have a plan to get too 100 but I know you can do it. If you start introducing foods around the 6 month mark, that gives you about 182 days (give or take) before your baby turns one. So let’s break it down.. A general plan I like to follow is 5 new foods a week. I try to incorporate 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 protein & 1 allergenic food. But I’m also very realistic with my advice and have room for flexibility and changes in schedule etc. I often get asked “is it possible?” Yes it is possible but it does take some planning on the caregiver’s side. Even if your family isn’t eating a wide variety of flavors/foods, it’s still important to expose your baby to them (if possible) otherwise, you can’t expect them to ever accept them. I created a one-hundred food checklist which includes a 9-week sample calendar to ensure you introduce the big 9 allergens. Here’s a sneak peak of the guide!

Including Allergens

As soon as your baby is 6 months old plus demonstrating readiness to start solids, it is recommended to introduce the common allergens. These include milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish and sesame. The general rule of thumb for allergenic foods is EARLY and OFTEN. Once you’ve introduced an allergen, keep offering it often. Introduce allergens one at a time with no other new foods so you are able to observe any potential reactions. Most reactions will occur within two hours of food exposure. Some reactions may not occur until subsequent exposures. It is best to introduce allergenic foods first thing in the morning and not right before nap or bedtime. If your baby has a history of severe eczema or a documented food allergy, be sure to consult with your pediatrician for further recommendations.

Meet the Expert

Hi, I'm Natalee.

A mom of two and Registered Dietitian specializing in baby-led weaning and picky eating. I started The Realistic RD to help empower parents feeding their littles with realistic nutrition advice. In my free time, you can find me outside playing with my kids, trying a new recipe (I love to bake) or enjoying a nice long walk. I'm a mom so I get it. I do my best to get a balanced meal on the table. But let's be honest, some nights it may be frozen pizza and that’s okay too. You can learn more about my services on my website & follow along on Instagram or Facebook.

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