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Foods To Avoid For Babies Under 12 Months: Holiday Edition

November 10, 2021 3 min read

Do you have a new little one joining you this holiday season? If so, we know how exciting this time can be. From spending time with loved ones to enjoying delicious holiday feasts, there's so much to experience with your new family addition.

While there are many foods you and your baby can experience together during holiday meals, there are some foods that babies can't eat. When getting together for family get-togethers and holiday parties, make sure these foods don't make it onto your little one’s plate.

Foods Not To Give Babies Under 1 Year Old:

  • Honey: Honey has a rare risk for causing botulism if introduced in infancy, and foods containing this should be avoided.
  • Rolls: While bread is okay in broken up pieces, whole rolls should be avoided until your child is older than one and capable of biting the roll into smaller pieces.
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs: When cooked through, eggs are a delicious and nutritious food for your little one. However, they can cause illness if raw or lightly cooked and should be avoided.
  • Fruit juice: 100% fruit or vegetable juices should not be given to babies before 12 months. Fruit juices can contain excess sugars that are not healthy for your baby’s development. 
  • Unpasteurized foods: Infants and young children should not be given any unpasteurized foods or beverages, such as unpasteurized juices, milk, yogurt, or cheeses (for example, Brie), as they could contain harmful bacteria.
  • Gravy: You might want to pass, or at least go light, on the gravy for your little one, as it is too rich for babies.
  • Small, Hard Foods, Fruits and Vegetables: Cherry tomatoes, whole grapes, hard candies, or pomegranate seeds may look good on a plate, but the small round shapes can be a choking hazard for your little one. 
  • Festive Popcorn: This is also a no-go. Whether sticky with caramel or mixed with nuts, your little one will be very unlikely to manage festive holiday popcorn. 

Holiday Foods Babies CAN Eat:

  • Dressing: Your baby can try this delicious holiday treat if the veggies are finely chopped, you skip the nuts, and the dressing stays moist. For younger babies trying their first bites, try mashing it with a fork or putting it in the food processor before serving. 

Quick tip: only serve stuffing that wasn’t cooked within the turkey cavity for your little one

  • Sweet Potatoes: A perfect food for your little one, sweet potatoes are a delicious holiday treat. Soft and easy to mash, even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy!

Quick tip: avoid sweet potatoes if cooked with nuts or excessive sugars and marshmallows. 

  • Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are another perfect addition to your little one’s plate. Not only do they provide a fun sensory experience but are tasty to eat. 
  • Turkey: A great source of protein, cut up a few thin slices of turkey and let your older babies experiment with this finger food. Or you can mash it up in a food processor with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes for a delicious treat. 
  • Roasted Carrots or Squash: Roasted vegetables that are cooked long enough are easy to smash or cut up small enough for babies 12 months or older to eat. Or, you can pop some in a food processor and feed with a spoon for newer eaters. 

Don’t Avoid Feeding Allergens

The holidays are a fun time to introduce your baby to family traditions and diverse foods. It’s also a great time to start introducing food allergens if you haven’t already. From the milk in mashed potatoes to the wheat in the stuffing, there’s plenty of easy and small opportunities to get started with allergen introduction. 

USDA guidelines suggest that introducing common allergens regularly, like peanuts, egg, cow milk products, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish, soy and sesame, can reduce the risk of your baby developing a food allergy later in life. 

If your little one is at least 4-6 months, it is important to introduce potentially allergenic foods along with other complementary foods.