Healthy eating begins during infancy and continues into adulthood. Teaching your child how to eat a healthy diet now, builds a solid foundation for them when they become an adult.
1. For the first four to six months of life, feed your baby only breast milk or formula.
2. Babies are ready for solid food when: their birth weight has doubled, they can control their head and neck, they can sit up with support, they show interest in the food you eat and they can show you that they’re full by turning their head away or refusing to open their mouth.
3. Don’t serve honey to children under 1 year of age. Infant botulism is a very serious nerve and muscle illness that can be caused by eating honey.
4. Variety is the key. If you offer a large variety of healthy foods, your child will grow to enjoy many of them.
5. For toddlers, offer foods with a variety of colors and textures. Cut food into interesting shapes and arrange them attractively on the plate.
6. Warm food is more appealing to toddlers than hot food.
7. Avoid forcing children to eat unwanted food.
8. Place small amounts of food on their plate. They can ask for more. Serve snacks at the same time every day and space them so they won’t interfere with meals.
9. Healthy snack foods include: fruits and fruit juices, raw vegetables served with fat-free dressing, cereal, yogurt, cheese and soup.
10. If you don’t want your child to eat junk food, keep it out of the house. Choose cookies and other desserts-such as fig bars and oatmeal raisin cookies-that are low in fat and sugar and contain nutrients.
11. Respect your child’s ability to decide how much to eat.
12. Be a good role model for nutritious eating.
13. Avoid using food as a reward. This may give your children the message that they can reward themselves with food, and it may lead to a lifetime of using food as consolation.
14. Encourage your children to eat only when they are hungry.