10 Ways to Teach Baby to Eat Healthy
It is never too early to learn how to eat well! Here are 10 healthy eating tips and activities to get Baby off to a good start.
1. Be a good role model.
Babies learn through mimicking you and others around them. If you talk negatively about fruits and vegetables or don’t eat them much, your baby will have a tough time accepting them. Remember, your baby will respond to what you like.
2. Take your baby to the store or a local farm stand.
Begin introducing your baby to fruits and vegetables. Teach her the names of different types of produce. Talk to her about the wonderful colors, great smells, and varied textures.
3. Talk positively about produce.
Let your baby know what she is eating when you are feeding her, what vitamins and minerals she is getting, and how important nutrients are for growing bigger and stronger.
4. Encourage your baby to drink water.
Water aids in digestion, regulates body temperature, delivers nutrients to cells, and carries away waste. As your baby is introduced to solid food, the need for water grows. If your baby is older than 6 months, you can safely offer her water. A good portion is 2 to 4 ounces at each meal. Get in the habit of offering water over juice (or dramatically cutting juice with two-thirds to three-fourths parts water).
5. Don't give up. A baby's tastes change daily.
Just because your baby
spit out peas one day doesn’t mean he hates them. Unless he has demonstrated an allergic reaction, try the food again in a couple of days—you may be pleasantly surprised.
6. Offer variety to ensure a balanced diet.
All foods contain different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Eating a variety of healthy foods will naturally lead to a balanced diet. When your baby first starts eating, quantity is not as important as variety.
7. Don't be in a rush.
Many babies are slow eaters, and this is a good habit to encourage. Many of us don’t plan enough time to eat meals and often find ourselves shoveling food in—this is one of the worst eating habits that you can teach your baby. Instead, plan plenty of time for meals so you and your baby can relax and enjoy the experience.
8. Have a feeding schedule.
Babies have small tummies and fluctuating appetites, so four to six mini meals a day are recommended by many healthcare professionals, including well-known baby experts Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears. Opt for frequent smaller meals over the traditional three large meals. Establishing set times for these meals will help your baby learn a routine.
9. Never force babies to clean their plates.
Your baby will eat when he is hungry, and she will
eat the types of food his body needs most. During meals, allow him to eat as much or little as she wants.
10. Make mealtimes a family event.
Whenever it is practical,
the whole family should eat together. This will encourage your baby to interact with others at mealtime and to begin experiencing a sense of social interaction.
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