Is your child about to start solids? Before you go buying all kinds of baby food, check out Mommy Daryll’s tips on what to feed and what not to feed your baby or toddler.
What can you read in this article?
- Food that are not allowed for infants
- Healthy toddler food ideas from Mommy Daryll
- Tips on encouraging your child to eat healthy
All parents have this excitement of feeding their baby when their child turns 6 months. Thinking about all the food you can feed them and anticipating their reactions to the taste makes us really excited about their eating journey.
As much as we want to feed them everything, not all kinds of food are allowed for infants under the age of one.
As a parent of a preemie baby, I make sure that my son gets the right nutrition every day to cope with the right growth and development for his age.
Preparing food for our child can be easy-peasy especially when we know what’s right and what’s not.
Image from Freepik
Avoid giving your toddler these foods
We should bear in mind that sugary and salty foods are not allowed for infants under 12 months of age. By knowing that, you can easily pick food that you should feed your child. There’s actually plenty, so why don’t we start with the two major food that is not allowed for babies and toddlers?
Honey should not be given to infants under 12 months of age and is not recommended for toddlers under 2 years of age. We all know that honey is sugar, and sugar is bad for infants and toddlers.
But aside from that, honey also contains bacteria that produce toxins that our infants’ intestines can’t take well because they aren’t mature enough. It can also lead to a serious illness called infant botulism which weakens their muscles, make them suck poorly, become fussy and constipated.
This might sound surprising, but honey, a generally highly nutritious food, can be extremely dangerous for toddlers younger than one — regardless if the honey is raw or highly processed.
The maximum recommended amount of salt is 1 gram a day for infants under 12 months and 2 grams for toddlers. If your baby has eaten more than the recommended amount of salt, their kidneys will not be able to deal with the excess salt as they are still immature.
Adding salt to their food is not a good idea and I am sure that they would still love it even without saltiness.
Make sure to steer clear of these foods to prevent your child from getting sick.
Best food to feed your toddler
It is very important that we teach our kids to eat fresh and healthy food right from the beginning. Whenever we buy at the grocery, we should always remember that what we buy will be what they are going to eat when we get home.
While there’s a wider variety of food we can give our kids as they grow up, there are still certain snacks and drinks that we should avoid feeding our infants and toddlers. So, what should we give them instead?
Yogurt is a great infant and toddler food as it is filled with important nutrients that they need including good probiotics, protein, which is a good source of energy. It is a rich source of calcium too.
Eating yogurt also helps strengthen our immune system, which is something we all need during this pandemic.
However, the kids’ yogurt that you can buy from the market is the complete opposite of what your child should eat. The artificial color and the sugar contained in those yogurts are really unhealthy for children and aren’t beneficial at all. These sugary yogurts can cause allergic reactions to children or possibly trigger hyperactivity and other types of adverse behavior.
You can buy plain yogurt instead, and add some frozen fruits like bananas and strawberries instead.
You can also add a little bit of honey to sweeten it up if your child is older than one or two.
Plain yogurts are easy to eat, customizable, and a yummy nutritious food that our infants and toddlers would surely love.
I don’t buy and feed my child fruit juice drinks and fruit gummies.
Let’s make our children a nutritious fruit smoothie instead of fruit juices from the market. Smashed and blended fruits are the best option as they are an amazing source of vitamins and natural sweetness.
Let’s encourage our kids to consume real fruits or offer them unsweetened dried fruits instead of fruits gummies.
Image from Freepik
Healthy alternatives to processed food
Some of the food I don’t buy and feed my child are sodas, canned foods, store-bought rice bars, cereals, ice cream, processed meats, potato chips, and pizza.
There is still a lot of other junk food in the market, but these are the ones that I really try to avoid giving my toddler. Instead, I try making a healthy alternative to these foods.
You can try making your own snack oat bars instead of store-bought rice bars and cereals.
Potato chips are a salty delight for every kid, but they are not a healthy snack option. Instead, you can easily make your own by baking potato slices in the oven, or even better, try making sweet potato chips for a richer flavor.
Instead of fast food or take-out pizza, try making a homemade pizza with healthy ingredients of your choice. Try to include your kids in the pizza-making process, encouraging them to cook and eat at home to establish healthier habits.
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Tips on making your child eat healthy
I have a toddler and I feed him at least 5 to 6 times a day. The whole day meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack in between, and breastfeeding sessions.
Here are some tips from my own personal experiences as a new mom, which honestly helped me a lot in keeping my child on a healthy diet:
Preparing meals for our kids can be very challenging. So to make things easier each day, I prepare a weekly meal plan for my toddler.
This will help us reduce the time of thinking about what to cook and prepare and also makes us very organized when it comes to the food they’re allowed to eat.
Prepare a healthy breakfast
One of my favorite things to do when I became a mom is preparing my child’s breakfast. Something I really enjoy making for him is Banana Oat Pancakes.
I just blend 2 bananas, 2 eggs, ½ cup of oats, ½ tsp of honey, and that’s it. You can make a delicious and nutritious pancake mixture out of it that your child would surely enjoy.
Image from Pexels
Taking the time to read the nutrition facts can also help in maintaining a healthy diet for our children. Check the salt and sugar content of the food before buying it and feeding it to your toddler.
Let’s encourage our children to join us in preparing food to establish healthy eating habits and also make happy tummy memories with the whole family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daryll Unice See is a happily married stay-at-home mom to a preemie baby who is now a healthy, growing toddler.