Starting Your Kids Off Right
by Leanne Ely, CNC
We typically focus on eating healthier only after we’re old enough to understand the consequences of what happens to our bodies when we don’t. Whether it’s through weight gain, lack of energy, or addictions to sugar and saturated fats, we do eventually figure out that our eating habits can have a negative effect on our bodies and minds. But just because you learned the hard way doesn’t mean your kids have to!
In fact, it should be just the opposite. If you’re capable of teaching your children the life lessons you’ve learned after the bumps and bruises gained from trial and error, then you should be able to give them a higher foothold in their own lives. So, start from the beginning! While they’re infants, begin a diet structure that they can carry with them even through adulthood. I can promise you from my own personal experience that it works. While I had friends whose children would throw a tantrum at the sight of any green vegetable, my children ate, sometimes grudgingly, everything I placed in front of them. Even today, in their early 20s, they’re making healthier decisions on their own because they’ve developed habits and preferences based on how they were raised.
So how do you choose the right formulas and baby food? Easy. It starts with knowing what your baby needs nutritionally. Much like adults, babies require fatty acids to help them grow and develop fully. Now, you’ve all probably heard my diatribe on omega-3 fatty acid, and have no fear, I’m not going to start down that path. In fact the fatty acid needed by babies is docosahexaenoic acid – quite the mouth full, so it’s shortened to DHA acid. Now, as far as formulas are concerned, many will contain DHA acid because it has become quite loudly stated that it’s necessary. You should be able to get all the DHA your little one needs with the right formula.
But how about when it’s time to move onto solids? One of the biggest problems with prepared baby foods available on the market today is that many of them are loaded with sugar. Not many people pay attention to the little details of nutritional facts because calories don’t matter as much to babies since their growth and development is at its peak. However, if you start giving them lots of sugar, the addiction and craving for it will start to develop because it isn’t something they’re born with the taste for. Salt and food coloring also follow the sugar rule. So look out for those sneaky dietary stumbling blocks.
Keep your eyes open and stay aware when shopping for your infant’s food. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try your hand at making your own baby food (which I highly recommend), but sure to check out our Baby Food Menu.