Jun 11 2012
The foods we feed in the early stages of life, can impact a child’s preference for life.
The 2004 Feeding Infants and Toddler Study ( FITS) found half of all 7 to 8 month olds were eating dessert daily, replacing the recommended fruits and vegetables they actually need. One-third of 7 to 24 month old babies ate no vegetables at all and by 15 months of age french fries became the most popular vegetable. The 2008 FITS nutrient assessment found toddler and infant intake of fiber and potassium were below recommended levels. This coincided with the finding that all infant, toddler and preschool age groups were low in fruit and vegetable intake the foods rich in these nutrients. Alarmingly french fries remain the most commonly consumed vegetable among preschoolers . Once infants move to table food, potatoes become the vegetable of choice. The trend of not meeting the recommendations for fruit and vegetables start as early as 9 to 11 months of age, and as the FITS babies’ transition to table food, 25% of 19 to 24 month olds are consuming chips or other salty snacks on any given day.
We can do better, do not serve potato chips or french fries to young children. At an early age serve a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack. Portions do not have to be large but now, when a child is young, is the time they need to see and taste a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Here is a guide to getting infants off to a good start