All parents want to help their children grow in a healthy way. There is often a lot of confusion around nutrition and how to make good choices for your child’s growing body. Research shows that nearly 1 in 3 children in the United States is now considered overweight or obese. There are so many unhealthy foods marketed toward children that it can be hard to know how to approach feedings and meal times.
Great resources to help in guiding nutrition are below:
Feeding your baby and toddler
There is no official first solid food that must be fed to your infant. The most important rule when beginning to introduce solid foods between 4 and 6 months is to not give another new food for 3-5 days to be sure it is well tolerated. Here are a few options and examples of how to approach this fun new step:
As toddlers begin to eat more finger foods we encourage you to eat as a family and provide your family meal to your toddler. Avoid getting stuck with only common “toddler foods” which are often unhealthy such as chicken fingers, hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. The more variety you provide and expect your child to eat, the healthier their eating habits will be in the future. We do suggest avoiding juice for infants and toddlers overall; for the most part juice is another route for increased sugar intake and has limited nutritional value in addition to teaching young children to like something sweet to drink. Research suggests children that drink juice regularly are more likely to drink more soda or other sugary drinks as they get older. This is linked to increased unhealthy weight gain and more risk of tooth decay.
Exercise is also a very important part of keeping our kids healthy. It is recommended that children participate in 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity daily. This does not have to be organized sports but can include a wide variety of activities. We want kids to enjoy movement and exercise! Limiting screen time is very important to help children stay more active and meet this goal.