Saturday, October 6, 2012
Non-Fat or Low-Fat Milk
Cow's milk should be safe at 12 months, but, until his second birthday, your toddler needs the fat and calories of whole milk. Whole milk benefits 1-year-olds developmentally -- especially his brain and central nervous system -- but its main importance for children this age is the extra calories. Toddlers have a tendency to be picky eaters with small stomachs and little patience. It's usually safe to switch to lower-fat milk at age 2, but check with your pediatrician to confirm baby's not at risk of obesity, heart problems or growth issues.
Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty ImagesChoking Hazards
Choking poses a threat to children even older than 3. Foods larger than green peas can lodge in your child's throat. Fruits and vegetables need to be diced before you serve them, as do meats and cheeses. Other dangerous foods include hard candies, popcorn, nuts and seeds. Peanut butter and other nut butters can be difficult for young children to swallow so serve them on a cracker rather than by the spoonful. Don't feed your toddler in the car where it's difficult to monitor eating. Don't feed her right after applying a numbing teething medication that may interfere with her ability to swallow.
During toddler years, your child will be trying all new foods. If your child has food allergies or allergies are common in your family, add new foods gradually to his diet, waiting several days after each new item to confirm no bad reactions will come of it. The most allergenic foods to watch include milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish and tree nuts.
Fish and Shellfish
The United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2004 for pregnant women and young children regarding mercury levels in fish. While fish and shellfish are healthy inclusions for the diets of toddlers, it is important to avoid higher concentrations of mercury during developmental years. Highest concentrations are found in shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. The FDA suggests eating fish low in mercury twice per week in addition to checking with local advisories regarding fish caught in your community's lakes and rivers.
According to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, one of the worst trends of the past decades is a switch to sugary drinks for toddler-age children; offer your toddler milk or water instead. A healthful diet can provide your youngster with energy, encourage cognitive development and even stabilize his moods --- important benefits for 1- to 3-year-olds. Establish healthy eating habits during these formative years by having regular family meals together, keeping plenty of nutritious snacks on hand and keeping portions under control. Good habits now will help her avoid health problems later.
Baby Center: Foods that can be Unsafe for Your Toddler
Parenting.com; Whole or Two-Percent?; Dr. William Sears; 2011
United States Food and Drug Administration: What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish; March 2004
Help Guide: Nutrition for Children and Teens