Newswise — CHICAGO — The nutritional needs of children change as they grow. During Kids Eat Right Month™, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages parents and caregivers to help children develop healthy eating habits as they reach adulthood.
In August, the Academy and its Foundation celebrate the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle for children and their families at its annual event. Kids Eat Well Month™.
“The time between your child being an infant drinking breastmilk or formula and becoming a teenager grabbing a burger with friends after school seems to happen overnight,” says nutritionist Amy Reed. registered dietitian, national spokesperson for the Cincinnati-based Academy of Nutrition and Nutrition. Dietetic. “Parents and guardians can set the stage for their children to choose healthy foods that meet their nutritional needs as they grow.”
Reed provides the following tips to help parents and caregivers guide their children’s nutritional journey:
Infants: Because infants need a specific balance of easily digestible nutrients, they drink breast milk or commercial iron-fortified formula. Do not attempt to make your own infant formula or feed your baby cow’s milk or plant milk. If you are using infant formula, follow feeding instructions and expiration dates. If you need to give your baby new formula due to recent shortages, give them time to adapt to the taste of the new formula. If they continue to refuse after a few tries, contact your doctor, RDN, or other health care provider for further advice.
When babies show signs of being developmentally ready for solid foods between four and six months, start supplementing their meals with foods that can be chewed and swallowed safely. By the end of their first year, infants should be introduced to a variety of foods to prepare their palates for new tastes as they grow.
Toddlers: Babies usually begin to switch from bottles to sippy cups around the age of 1 year. Children 1-2 years old are encouraged to drink whole milk and water and limit 100% fruit juice to no more than 4 ounces per day. Toddlers should eat the same variety of nutrient-dense foods as older children and adults, but in smaller amounts. Serve food in bite-size pieces to avoid choking.
Preschoolers: Plan meals and snacks so your child eats from all food groups. Children at this age are beginning to develop strong food preferences, so continue to offer a wide variety of foods repeatedly. It may take a few tries or serve a food prepared in a different way before a child likes it. Try to avoid preparing a separate meal for your child.
College students: Encourage your child to become more invested in their nutrition by helping them shop for food, plan the menu, and help in the kitchen with age-appropriate chores. Serve regular, balanced meals and dine together as a family to instill good eating habits that your children can continue as they grow.
Teens: Continue to build your child’s bone bank by encouraging them to eat and drink calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as fat-free or low-fat dairy milk, yogurt, or calcium-fortified soy beverages . Non-dairy sources of calcium include fortified cereals, beans, some leafy greens, and canned salmon with bones, but the amount of calcium the body absorbs from these foods can vary. Teach them the value of breakfast to start their day and encourage them to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if they play sports. Teach them to read food labels and teach them the basics of cooking.
“Parents and caregivers play an important role in guiding the nutritional choices of their children. A registered dietitian nutritionist, the expert in food and nutrition, can translate the recommendations of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help children reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity or heart disease later in life,” says Reed.
Kids Eat Well Month™
Kids Eat Right Month™ was created in 2014 to mobilize dietitian nutritionists in a grassroots movement to share healthy eating messages to help families establish nutritious eating habits.
“To see the Media material for the month of Eat well for children for the 2022 campaign graphic, infographics and more information. To find a dietitian nutritionist near you, use the Academy website Find a nutrition expert service.
Nutrition and Dietetics Academy
Representing over 112,000 registered nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the dietetic profession through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated exclusively to supporting nutrition and dietetics professionals by enabling them to help consumers lead healthier lifestyles. It impacts Academy members and the entire profession through its fellowships, awards, research grants, fellowships, public education programs, and disaster relief efforts. Through philanthropy, the Foundation empowers current and future food and nutrition practitioners to optimize global health. Visit the Foundation at www.eatrightFoundation.org.