Avoiding childhood obesity early on when introducing solids - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

Avoiding childhood obesity early on when introducing solids

A large percentage of children in developed countries are overweight. Obesity is steadily on the increase and drastic measures are being taken worldwide to try and understand and ultimately deal with this growing epidemic. There are two areas of intervention, first is how can we assist families of children who are obese or borderline obese. The second is how we prevent childhood obesity in the future. As far as prevention is concerned we have gone right back to the early days of feeding babies. What milk your baby is being fed (breast or bottle) may have a more significant role in preventing or causing childhood obesity than what was previously understood. When and how you wean is another area that is being closely looked at in the quest to prevent this growing epidemic. Studies suggest that the early feeding environment may be a significant factor in childhood obesity. The findings showed that children who had been breastfed longer had a lower fat mass which could not be explained by differences in family background or the child's height. It was also found that, independent of the duration of breastfeeding, children with higher quality weaning diets including fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods had a greater lean mass at four years of age. Many children acquire bad habits right from their own homes. One way to see is how much time a child spends in front of the television or playing games on the computer. One way to change this is to have rules that encourage children play outdoors. Having children participate in outdoor activities would be one way parents can provide help for overweight kids. Teaching by example is the way to inculcate in children the right habits. Eating healthy meals prepared from fresh nutritious ingredients would be a start. Removing junk food altogether may not be the right way but by controlling their intake, the child can eat better meals. Taking time out to exercise together as a family and having healthy meals together would be great for all. Also, limiting TV time to a certain number of hours would be help for overweight kids; they can learn to become active and spend time outside engaging in activities with friends. These healthy habits are best formed in the early years when introducing solids to your baby as well as in the toddler years when you need to set boundaries. These boundaries can include healthy foods choices, mealtime routines as well as regular physical activity with limited TV times. It is much easier to train these healthy habits from early on in your child’s life than having to undo bad habits and train new ones later on in life. Here are some practical tips when it comes to introducing your baby and toddler to snacks Snacking for health Snacking is not a bad thing -- in fact, it's a good thing -- and it can actually help keep kids from overeating at mealtime But even while we're bombarded with choices by the snack food industry, it's not always easy to find healthy snacks -- much less get your kids to eat them. Here are six simple guidelines. Relax the Food Ties That Bind While you may have strict nutritional guidelines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snacks are the place to give children some wiggle room. Choose the Lesser of the Evils When it comes to ingredients like sugar and saturated fat, you might think most commercial snack foods are pretty similar, give or take a gram. But look a little harder at the label and you may find important differences. Opting for the more nutrient-dense snack will help ensure it has some redeeming value, even if some of the other ingredients are not top nutritional choices. In addition, keep an eye on the sugar content. Some snacks, even seemingly healthy ones like flavoured yogurt, are way over the top when it comes to added sweeteners. Portion, Portion, Portion While it's OK to give kids some leeway on choosing what snacks to have, it's still vital to pay attention to portion size. It's also important to look for snacks with low levels of fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Even if the package says a snack has no trans fats, read the ingredient list to be sure. If you see the word 'hydrogenated,' it means it has some trans fat, so avoid that snack Make It Easy to Eat Well Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy snacks -- like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain items? Make these foods easy to munch, and they will eat more of them, No matter what food it is you're trying to get your child to eat, if you make it accessible, if it's easy to eat, if it's there waiting for them in the fridge or on the counter, you will increase the likelihood that they will eat it Make It Yourself Some pre-packaged snacks are quite healthy. But when you make a healthy snack from scratch, it's easy to "hide" the healthy ingredients, and give your kids the taste they want along with the nutrition you want them to have, Another trick: Substitute fruit puree for one-half to three-quarters of the fat in any cake, cookie, or muffin recipe. You can also cut sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 without stirring up much of a fuss. Think Outside the Cookie Jar! If you hear the word "snack" and automatically think cookies, chips, or pie, think again. A snack food doesn't have to be a sweet. It doesn't even have to be a traditional snack food. Almost anything a kid likes to eat can be turned into a snack if you watch portion sizes. It's important to get kids away from the taste of sugar, and incorporating other types of snacks into their diet is one way to do that. By Meg Faure
5 Tips on feeding your baby through to toddlerhood - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

5 Tips on feeding your baby through to toddlerhood

Minerals for babies Minerals are natural substances that are absorbed by your baby’s body through food and other supplements. They are necessary for many bodily functions, particularly the growth of your child. Minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because you only need very small amounts of them each day. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need each day. Whole or unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, legumes, lean meats, fish and poultry are the best choices for providing your body with the vitamins it needs to stay healthy and grow properly Keeping your baby calm during feeds Help her stay awake and calm while she eats. It’s better, over the long run, if your baby doesn’t go to sleep while she’s eating using eating to fall asleep wont help her learn about being full or putting herself to sleep. Eventually you will want her to be able to sleep well. And going to bed drowsy but still awake will help her learn to do that. Help her to stay awake during feeding by holding her close enough so she can see your face. Talk with her gently while she eats. Encourage tasty foods from all the various food groups Eating variety of foods is good for your baby, while keeping her calm will encourage a good feed and sleep habit. Using snacks to support meals Snacks are an essential part of meal planning and need to taken just as seriously as meals. Planned snacks, not food handouts. Planned snacks are intended to prevent and make you resistant to food panhandling. Consider this scenario: Your toddler gets down from the table having eaten little or nothing. Five minutes later she is back begging for a biscuit. If you know she has a snack coming in a few more hours you will be more likely to say a firm no than if you think she has to wait for the next meal before she can eat again. Catering to Likes and Dislikes In planning meals for your family, it is best to treat your child like you do everyone else – sometimes she gets lucky and sometimes someone else does. Don’t limit your menus to the foods that you know your child likes or she won’t learn to like the whole world of other foods. She is growing up to join you bat the table, you arte not learning to eat off the high chair tray. An alarming meal like livers, boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage may be a sadistic mean. A more sympathetic meal would be liver and bacon, mashed potatoes, corn and of course bread and milk – and letting your child choose and pick from the menu what she can manage. It may take her years to start eating liver, but her chances are pretty good that she will – if you like it. By Kath Megaw

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