In our past and current education system the importance of true nutrition has been neglected. There is usually at least somewhat of an awareness for adults that what we choose to eat is often unhealthy. However, many parents also give poor food choices to their children unaware of how bad they are for their children’s growth.
Eating junk food is far more damaging to babies than adults as babies only need a small amount of calories but require an extensive amount of nutrients for their development. There is virtually no nutrition found in fast food meals and children will quickly fill up on the empty calories, leaving no room or desire for nutritious meals.
A nutrition deficient diet for babies can stunt their development, physically, mentally and emotionally.
So what can you do? Learn what foods to stay away from, and commit to never serving them.
Here are 5 of the very WORST foods for your baby
Gelatin Desserts – There is a large misconception that Gelatin desserts have nutrition, perhaps because of the bone and cartilage from animals there is a belief the snack has protein. It however, does not… what the baby ends up consuming is sugar, artificial color, flavor and a very small amount of gelatin. Choose instead, cinnamon apple sauce, pureed pears or peaches.
Processed Meals – Anything that is not as it came from nature is considered processed, there are varying degrees of processing that is done. Bottom line is, the more an item is processed the more nutritional value is lost an in turn the more sugar, salt and fat content there is. The worst of these processed foods parents serve their children is fast food, canned pastas, sugared yogurts and heavily processed cheeses. When convenience is necessary, choose organic foods created for babies such as Stoneyfield Farm YoBaby Organic Yogurt and Earth’s Best Organic baby foods.
Soda – While this does seem like a silly thing to mention, it is more important to say than you would think. A survey of more than 3,000 families presented at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) conference in 2009 indicated that some babies are served soft drinks as early as 7 months of age. Whether regular or diet, soda provides absolutely no nutritional value and a lot of harmful chemicals and sugars which can create turmoil in your babies developing digestion system and teeth.
Crackers – Although these are a quick, convenient snack to fill up your little ones tummy, they will leave no room for healthy nutrient-rich foods. Serving too many sweet or salty foods will alter your baby’s sense of taste in turn developing what we call a “sweet tooth” or a “salty tooth”. A great alternative for snacking is mandarin orange slices, apple slices or if a non-perishable type snack is necessary, low-sugar cereals are available with higher nutritional value than crackers.
Juice – This one will come as a surprise to many parents. Even though it comes from fruit, juice is not a good source of vitamins. The important nutrition and fiber found in fruits are destroyed in the juicing process making the drink simply a source of sugar and wasted calories. Babies can easily get their vitamin C from a small source of raw or pureed fruits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies younger than 6 months drink nothing but breast milk or formula. Babies 6 to 12 months old can have small amounts of water, but breast milk or formula should still be their main beverage.
So now you’re wondering… what DO I feed my little one?
Take a look at 10 of the Very Best Foods for Babies.
I also highly recommend both of these books.
Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook – Easy Recipes for Natural Food – Lizzie Vann
Top 100 Baby Purees – 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby – Annabel Karmel