Solids in the first year /

Foods to avoid in the under ones

01 In Brief

There are certains foods that should be avoided during the first year for a variety of reasons: choking hazards, food poisoning and numerous nutritional concerns. Children with allergies or a family history of allergy need specailist advice before introducing potential allergenic foods.

02 What Do I Need To Know?

Foods to avoid in the under ones come in 3 main categories, choking risk, food poisoning and nutritional and digestive concerns.

Children with allergies or a family history of allergies require specialist advice when introducing high risk foods such as cow's milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, seeds, fish and shell fish. 

Choking risk

Avoid offering your infant under one any hard or firm food, round food that may cause a choking risk, chewy sticky food and foods that your child may wish to cram into their mouths.  Babies who are distracted while feeding have an increased risk of choking.

Foods that pose a choking risk

  • Whole nuts or chunks of nut pastes with or without crunchy pieces
  • Hard pieces of fruit or any fruits with skin on eg apple, pear: always offer very ripe soft fruit or well cooked fruit
  • Hard pieces of vegetables eg carrot, beans: offer well cooked and soft vegetables
  • Smaller foods eg whole grapes / blueberries / strawberries: seed and cut these fruits into halves or quarters, dried fruits, raisins
  • Light dry foods eg popcorn, tortilla chips, potato chips and pretzels
  • Hot dogs especially if cut into rounds
  • Fish with bones
  • Hard candy
  • Seeds
  • Marshmallow, jelly beans
  • Chewing gum
  • Chunks of cheese, meat, ice cubes
  • Cherries and olives

Prevention of choking

  • Cut rounded food into strips, remove seeds and pips
  • Offer soft ripe fruit and well cooked or steamed vegetables and fruit
  • Use only small amounts of sticky foods eg peanut butter
  • Offer water with meals but solids and water should not be swallowed at the same time.
  • Always closely supervise young children while they are eating, do not leave them unattended. 
  • Ensure the child is upright and sitting comfortably when eating
  • Children should have a calm unhurried meal and snack time.
  • Children should not eat while walking, in the car or playing
  • Model safe and appropriate ways of eating and chewing
  • Ensure your child is seated, chew their food slowly and don't talk or laugh with a mouth full.
  • Make sure they only put as much food into their mouths as they can manage to chew with ease

Learn infant and child CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver for children see links below.

Food poisoning

Honey is best avoided in infants under one because of the risk of infant botulism. Find out more from Flourish Health Bank page" Whats the fuss about honey in the under ones?"

Undercooked meat, eggs and raw shell fish pose a risk as it does for older children and adults.

Nutrition and digestion concerns

Whole cow milk

  • Should not be offered until 12 months of age
  • Is poor in micronutrients and in some babies can cause constipation and iron deficiency.


  • Babies do not need juice and babies under 6 months should not be offered juice. 
  • If you wish to offer juice, always give it in a cup, not a bottle to prevent tooth decay and only offer 100 % fruit juice, limited to no more than 120 ml per day. Offer it only at meal or snack time.

Low fat options

  • It is important to not restrict your childs intake of dietary fat and calories in the first 2 years of life.
  • Calories and vitamins from dietary fat are essentilal for brain growth and development
  • Up to the age of 2 years your baby should get about half of their daily calories  from fat, after that you can gradually reduce the fat calories.


  • Infants have immature kidneys and sometimes their kidneys cannot deal with a salt load. Its important to eat family foods together, so be aware of the salt in your cooking and maybe add it later to your food after you have prepared the family meal.


  • Sweet sugary meals are not necessary for infants and risk tooth decay. Use mashed banana or breast milk added to a meal if you want to sweeten it.


  • Some fish are high in mercury such as swordfish, shark and marlin
  • The Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has developed guidelines about how much fish children should consume under the age of 6 years.
  • Go to Flourish health bank page: Preparing for a healthy baby: Mercury and fish


03 What Others Say

  • Food choking hazards for infants and toddlers

Food choking hazards

  • New York State Dept of health

Choking prevention for children

  • Heimlich procedure for infants

Harvard Medical School: Heimlich procedure on an infant

Wiki how : How to perform the Heimlich on a baby


The information published here has been reviewed by Flourish Paediatrics and represents the available published literature at the time of review.
The information is not intended to take the place of medical advice.
Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
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Last updated: 09/11/2013 by Dr Liz Hallam