Everyone wants their kids to be healthy. With childhood diabetes and obesity on the rise, the consequences of bad dietary choices can be devastating. Obviously, it is best to start making health a priority at a young age, but how?
First of all, no one is too young to be eating healthy. Balanced nutrition is just as important to a breastfed baby than a teenager. Studies show that breastfeeding moms who eat fast food 5 times a week or more had much higher saturated fat content in their breastmilk than moms who didn’t eat fast food. Make nutrition a family priority and everyone will benefit.
When the time comes to put your child on solid foods there are numerous opinions on the "best way". Ultimately it is up to you and your baby on what works best for you. But don’t buy into the hype that you have to buy all of the packaged "snacks" like cheese puffs and crackers. It is just as easy to steam a carrot and mash it up as it is to go to the supermarket and buy a puree that likely has added sugar or preservatives. Often the babies fed these food products from infancy become picky eaters because they were not exposed to a variety of textures and flavors early. If you are super constrained on time a good option is the website OrganicBabyFood24.de. You can also find great baby food recipes here.
The number one tip for helping your kids make better food choices is to avoid "kid foods". Have you noticed that these "kid foods" are the most processed, colorful, sugary, and preserved foods in the grocery store? Why are fruit rollups and lunchables targeted at children who are likely not going to be able to pronounce most of the ingredients? The food companies rely on the parents to give in to their childs pleading and buy them these "foods" that have little nutritional value and lots of scary additives. A good rule is to only buy items if the child can identify all the ingredients.
How about if you already have a picky eater? We all have foods we don’t really like, and that’s ok, but if your childs list of foods they wont eat is longer than the list of foods they will then you might have a problem. The number one thing to do is KEEP TRYING. Every few years our tastebuds change, maybe the child needs to try the food in a new setting or prepared differently.
Another suggestion is to get your child involved with the growing, buying, and preparing of foods. Fruits and veggies always taste better when you grow it yourself. Especially if it is a food that looks a little funny (like broccoli), it might help for the child to see the growing process and how the plant grows to look like what we find in the grocery store. There are a ton of community classes and activities at community centers where kids can become "junior chefs" like the top chefs they see on TV. A subscription service I recommend is KIDSTIR which sends meal kits to your home that helps teach your child about culinary arts and makes cooking a fun family activity.