Resources

Nutrition

Newborns

  • Breastfeeding is the best and offers many benefits to your baby.  Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. You should try to give breast milk for at least the first six months of life.
  • Formula feeding is also a healthy choice for babies if you are unable to breastfeed for any reason.  If you use a formula, your baby will get the best possible alternative to breast milk. (You should not attempt to make your own formula or feed an infant cow's milk.)

Ages 6mo - 12mo

  • Introducing solids occurs around 6 months of age when most babies are developmentally ready.  
  • Start your baby on pureed fruits and vegetables beginning with one food at a time,  Options include carrots, pears, prunes, sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas, peaches, and much more. You can either buy premade baby food or make your own.  
  • Grains are reserved for last as we have learned that these are more difficult for our gut to digest. What, how much and how often are least important as long as you are offering a good variety of foods.

Ages 1y - 3y

  • The best thing you can do is offer your toddler a variety of foods from each food group with different tastes, textures, and colors.  
  • Calcium, the body’s building block, is needed to develop strong, healthy bones and teeth.  Milk, milk alternatives, dairy products and calcium fortified orange juice.  Some other high calcium foods include tofu, dark leafy greens (collard, turnip and mustard greens, kale and spinach), broccoli and asparagus.   
  • Fiber is another important focus and this is really the time to encourage fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, which all provide fiber.  Fiber helps aid digestion and prevents constipation.

Ages 4y - 8y

  • Don’t worry too much if your child doesn’t seem to be eating enough.  Your child might not eat the recommended amount from each food group every day.  Offering a balance and variety of foods from all four food groups at mealtimes and at least two of the four food groups for each snack will ensure (s)he will get the needed nutrition over the course of the week.  
  • Children this age typically need 1200 - 1400 calories per day and this should increase with increased physical activity.  
  • At this age you can start including your child in age appropriate food preparation and table setting.

Ages 9y - 12y

  • Tween years are a time period prior to  rapid growth and development.  Continuing to build on healthy food habits will carry over into teen years when peer pressure and unhealthy choices become a bigger influence.  
  • Talk to your child about the importance of each meal:  especially breakfast.  Discuss how healthy foods help their body grow and fight disease. Continue encouraging a balance and variety of foods from all four food groups at mealtimes and encourage healthy "snacking".  
  • Meals should have a fruit, veggie and protein/carbohydrate at every meal. 
  • Encourage water as the primary fluid.  Minimize flavored waters, sodas, sports drinks – these have lots of artificial sweeteners and food coloring. 
  • Children this age typically need 1600 - 1800 calories per day and this should increase with increased physical activity.  
  • At this stage, children can be very helpful in planning the menu for family meals and then helping with age appropriate food preperation. Also, show your child how to read labels to help choose healthy foods when shopping.  

Ages 13y - 18y

  • Teen years are a time period of rapid growth and development. 
  • Discuss food choices at home, at friend’s homes and when eating out.  Continue to encourage healthy habits at home.   Continue encouraging a balance and variety of foods from all four food groups at mealtimes and encourage healthy "snacking".  
  • Meals should have a fruit, veggie and protein/carbohydrate at every meal. 
  • Encourage water as the primary fluid.  Minimize flavored waters, sodas, sports drinks – these have lots of artificial sweeteners and food coloring.
  • Youth typically need 1800 - 2200 calories per day and this should be increased with increased physical activity.
  •  Involve teens in grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking as much as possible.
  • Aim to eat together at least 3-4x weekly as schedules get busy. 
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