Why does nutrition matter in the birth to 23 month timeframe?
This is a critical time for growth and development of:
- digestive tract
- healthy immune system
This is the time when children can develop a healthy eating pattern – starting with complementary foods at 6 months — which helps to broaden the palate with exposure to a variety of foods, tastes, textures and temperatures.
What can parents, grandparents, and/or caregivers do to support good nutrition for young children?
- Lead by example. Eat the same foods you feed to the little ones in your family or in your care.
- Do follow child’s lead and avoid force-feeding to let young children determine their level of fullness.
- Make mealtime a fun zone not a battle zone.
- Be patient, feeding skills take time to master and need to be practiced.
- Don’t use food as a reward or punishment – it is nourishment for health and development.
- Do be careful with foods that can present choking hazards – aim for a safe plate.
What is the Top advice for 6-11-month-olds?
- Make sure your baby has the strength and stability to sit upright with little or no support.
- Make sure the baby is interested in food and can make use of a spoon to move food into their mouth.
- Minimize distractions around feeding time. No toys on the tray for your little and no screen time for whoever is doing the feeding.
- Breast milk, formula and water.
- Baby sized bites – smaller more frequent feedings over the day- #MakeEveryBiteCount.
- Think finger foods or easy to swallow foods.
- Yogurt (unflavored) and cheese can be introduced as complementary foods.
- Iron fortified infant cereals.
- Strained or pureed fruits and vegetables.
- Strained or pureed meats and mashed or pureed beans – you can buy or make your own.
What is the top advice for 12-23 month-olds?
- Plain whole milk, reduced-fat cheese and reduced-fat, plain yogurt.
- Great grains such as bread, bagels, ready to eat cereal, cooked cereal, rice or pasta – do include whole grain options in the mix.
- Fruit can be chopped, cooked, canned in juice or offered whole.
- Vegetables can be cooked, canned, or chopped, fresh.
- Protein such as beef, pork, poultry, fish – cooked and in small pieces, beans, lentils, chopped nuts or nut butter and eggs.
- Beverages are breast milk, plain whole milk and water.
- Let your toddler decide how much to eat.
- If at first, they will not feed, try try again.
- Try to feed on a schedule – smaller amounts more frequently.
- Eat the same foods you give your little one.
- Be careful with foods that may be difficult to swallow.
- Keep the distractions to a minimum around mealtime.
- Right sized is child-wise.