Healthy eating habits – babies to teens

Bright health default image for the food category. Bowl of healthy granola, yogurt and fruit.

Whether your baby is just starting to nosh on purees or your teen is eating you out of house and home, now is the time to encourage healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Help your kids develop healthy eating habits at any age with the following tips from Robert Gin, MD, a partner physician with Littleton Pediatric Medical Center , as well as resources from around the web.

Infants

When your baby develops her pincer grasp, typically in her eighth month of life, consider introducing finger foods in soft bits (like a small piece of banana or ripe avocado).

Check out more ideas for simple, vitamin-packed finger foods from Parenting Magazine .

Toddlers

Whole milk contains healthy fats that help contribute to optimal brain development, which is why it’s a great food to add during your child’s second year.

Looking for more “brain foods” to serve to your kids? Read this article at WebMD .

Preschoolers

Your preschooler will be most hungry at the start of a meal, which makes it the perfect time to give her more nourishing foods. Start with protein (meat, eggs, beans, etc.) and vegetables first. Then offer fruits and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, etc.), which are more appealing, later.

Stir-fry is a simple go-to meal option that is filled with proteins and veggies a-plenty. Start cooking today with these tasty stir-fry recipes from Parents Magazine .

School-age children

At this age, kids can become picky eaters and refuse certain foods. Try preparing small portions of various vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, etc.) and put them on the plate. Let your child choose what she wants. It takes a little more work to prepare, but offering variety can save you a headache in the long run.

Too busy to prep multiple vegetable options every night? The Pioneer Woman  shares tips for prepping a week’s worth of veggies all at once.

Preteens

Developmentally, preteens begin to emotionally break from their parents and start to prefer the company of friends and family. Look to your kids’ circle of friends to help reinforce the development of healthy nutritional habits.

Next time you take a gaggle of preteens out to eat, try using Healthy Dining Finder  to find restaurants near you that offer nutritious, wholesome options.

Teenagers

Half of adult bone calcium is laid down during the teenage years, so bone health is extremely important at this age. Help your teenager get at least 1,300 mg per day along with 400 international units (UI) of Vitamin D per day to promote calcium uptake into the body.

Plan wholesome high-calcium meals for your family with the help of these recipes from Eating Well Magazine .

Author: Bright Health

November 23, 2016