Many people would be surprised to find out how early our nutritional habits begin. New research shows that a baby's "taste" for certain foods can begin even in the womb. For this reason, you want to eat a variety of healthy foods during your pregnancy and avoid sugars, salts and processed foods.
Those same "tastes" develop as your baby enjoys your breast milk. Research also suggests that breastfed babies may be less picky eaters as kids (and into adulthood) than formula-fed infants, especially if their moms eat a balanced diet while nursing.
Many new moms are not sure what foods to feed baby when they start eating solid foods. They turn to processed baby foods and children's menus. A study of more than 3,000 kids under age 2 found that large numbers of babies and toddlers have already developed an appetite for hot dogs, french fries, candy, and soda. This is very disconcerting considering that a child's food preferences will set in the first three years of life.
Are You a Model Mom?
One thing all new moms have in common is the desire to lose weight. But when you're consumed with motherhood, and restricted from dieting due to breastfeeding, the challenge is often hard. My goal is to help moms eat a healthful diet while feeding their new baby. As your baby eats new foods, so will you. You are their model for healthy eating.
The good news is that when you eat healthy, so do they. When they eat healthy, so do you. You need to model healthy eating behavior day in and day out. It's not enough to say that they should do so. They should see you eat your fruits, vegetables and wholesome foods. Most of all, they should see you eat. It is not uncommon that the moms with picky eaters are also the moms who are always on diets.
Most parents feed kids foods that they normally eat. You are exposing your children to a limited world of eating. Instead, bring new types of foods into the house for everyone to enjoy.
Your caloric needs are highest when your baby is smallest, especially if you're breastfeeding. As your baby can eat more, you can eat less. When you eat healthy, whole foods, you don't have to watch calories.
Kid's Menus Beware
Have you ever noticed the selection of foods on kids menus? Everything is fried and filled with saturated fats. Chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, burgers and fries. Why do we wonder about obesity rates in children?
Kids should be eating whole (unprocessed) foods, and so should you. So, instead of ordering off the kiddie menu, you can probably order one regular entrée and split it with your child. Add extra veggies or something a la carte if more food is needed.
Read the Label
What is your toddler eating? Have you read the labels on your child's foods? Most are filled with hydrogenated oils, sugars, artificial colors and enriched flours. Throw out goldfish crackers, chips and cookies.
Replace with healthy snack options such as whole grain graham crackers, string cheese, yogurt, mini cottage cheese cups, fruit cups, dried fruit bits, raisins and whole grain "O's" cereal.