Fostering Healthy Eating Habits in Your Baby
By Sarah Veda
If you’re concerned about your baby’s health, you want to be certain to start healthy eating habits early. The first year of solid foods is a very important time for establishing your child’s eating habits. What your child eats, and more importantly, does not eat, during this time can impact their habits for life. Here are some tips for starting out right with your child’s first menu.
Watch the sugar
This is a biggie. Eliminating refined sugar from your child’s diet in the early days can help the child develop a taste for savory flavors, which in the long run, can help them enjoy a wider variety of foods, without having such a sweet tooth. In addition, a low sugar diet can help ensure that your child maintains a proper weight. So, keep the cookies and candies away. Use fruit and yogurt as dessert. Remember, if your child has not been exposed to sugar, she won’t miss it.
Feed whole grains
Stay away from white flour. Most American diets are painfully low in whole grains, because we are a “white bread” society. Try using wheat breads, oats and other whole grains instead.
Keep the beverages simple
Milk, water and juice are enough. Soda and sweetened drinks will work their way in eventually, but put it off as long as you can. In addition, watering the juice down a bit can help reduce the calories and sugar content. Plus, it minimizes the risk of your child having a stomach ache from too much juice.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
Keep reintroducing healthy foods, even if they are not met with applause the first time around. The rule in our house is that you have to try any food you don’t like every six months. Children’s tastes change, and what they didn’t like a few months ago might just taste better, so keep trying.
Evaluate the family eating habits
As your child grows, she will be spending more time eating what the rest of the family eats, so it’s important that your eating habits be good, too. Are you serving a wide variety of foods? Think color – too much white food has a lot of calories, and not a lot of nutrition. Green, yellow, red and orange foods should be on your table on a regular basis.
Establishing good eating habits for your child is one of the best gifts you can give her. It will set her off on a lifetime of health and well being. Remember, the best way to get your children to eat well is to be a role model. They will eat the way you eat, so set a good example.
Sarah is a 41 year old wife and mother of two boys and one girl. She spent many years as a manager in the corporate world, and gave it up to be a stay at home mom.
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