Healthy Eating for Toddlers
Children needs a balanced diet. The best foods are whole, fresh, and unprocessed—fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and meats; and home-cooked meals. As a new parent, you may not know about the healthy and nutritious eating that you should promote. So here are a few tips for all new moms who struggle with the meals for their babies and need help:
- Offer foods that don’t have added sugar or sugar substitutes. Limit refined sugars (sucrose, glucose-fructose, white sugar) honey, molasses, syrups, and brown sugar.
- Sugar substitutes, such as aspartame and sucralose, do not add calories or cause tooth decay, but they are much sweeter than sugar and have no nutritional value. They may lead to a habit of only liking sweet foods.
- Offer water when your child is thirsty, especially between meals and snacks.
- Offer your child healthy foods that are low in sodium as often as possible.
- Too much sodium in childhood can lead to a preference for salty food, which is associated with obesity and/or disease later in life.
- Set regular meal and snack times that work for the whole family. Share mealtimes and eat with your children.
- Offer a balance and variety of foods from all food groups at mealtimes.
- Avoid using dessert as a bribe. Serve healthy dessert choices, such as a fruit cup or yogurt.
- Help your children learn to use a spoon or cup so they can eat independently.
- Serving actual fruit instead of fruit juice adds healthy fiber to your child’s diet.