By: Mary B. Hammock, MSN, CPNP
Heather Morgan, a nutritionist, has been quoted as saying, “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” Providing good nutrition for a child can be challenging at any age but time and again, is proven to lay the foundation for enduring good health. There are many opportunities to make a positive impact on a child’s health through their dietary habits and those habits formed during childhood will make a lasting impression. Your child is watching your every move. So of course, lead by example and eat a variety of nutrient rich foods for your health, as well. Lean proteins, dairy products, whole grains and fruits and vegetables are the keys to balanced nutrition.
Start At Infancy
Infancy is a wonderful time of exploration. Breast milk and baby formulas are necessary to provide enough calories, calcium, iron, vitamins
Baby foods come in a rainbow of colors and flavors to peak the curiosity of the new palate. And of course, your baby is always watching what is being served at the table. The older infant will be eager to try some table food. Be careful to avoid honey because of the botulism risk. For all children 9 months to four years, be careful of the size and texture of foods to prevent choking hazards.
Common choking hazards
- raw vegetables and fruits
- including carrots and apples
- whole grapes and hard candy.
Baby foods come in a rainbow of colors and flavors to peak the curiosity of the new palate. And of course, your baby is always watching what is being served at the table. The older infant will be eager to try some table food. Be careful to avoid honey because of the botulism risk. For all children 9 months to four years, be careful of the size and texture of foods to prevent choking hazards. Common choking hazards include popcorn, peanuts, hotdogs, raw vegetables and fruits including carrots and apples, whole grapes and hard candy.
Toddlerhood can be especially challenging during feeding times. Toddlers are known for asserting their independence and for the “
Make mealtimes fun by offering interesting shapes and colors
- Cut ripe apples, pears
andeven peaches into sticks to allow for self-feeding.
- Offer sliced strawberries and grapes to dip in yogurt.
- Cut cucumbers and potatoes into intriguing shapes with cookie cutters. Dress broccoli trees with cheese.
- Julienne some vegetables into the macaroni and cheese or spaghetti or bake them into whole grain muffins and
When your children become preschoolers, it is easy and fun to get them involved in their own nutrition. Take them to the grocery store or farmer’s market and peruse the produce aisles. Explore new recipes and ask for their help preparing snacks and meals. Think about enrolling your child in a cooking class or grow a garden. Their excitement will be contagious.
School-agers have similar nutritional needs but can come with their own challenges. School success improves with a balanced breakfast with protein. This leads to higher test scores, lasting energy and fewer complaints of headaches, dizziness
Mealtime is a place and time to come together and enjoy food and loved ones. Bon appétit! Healthy Steps Pediatrics is helping to GROW healthy children one step at a time. Call for an appointment today so that we can get your family on the road to nutritional health.