Variety Good for You Good for Baby

Variety certainly is the spice of life—especially when it comes to forming good eating habits for your baby. Offering your baby a wide variety of foods with different flavors, colors, shapes, and textures helps ensure that his or her nutrition needs are met. Variety makes mealtime more fun, too! As an aside, babies perceive sweet tastes first; both amniotic fluid and breast milk are sweet. Other taste perceptions develop during a baby's first year.

Like you, your baby may like some foods better than others. That's normal. Likes and dislikes may change from week to week. Continue to offer food variety. You may offer a new food or flavor eight to ten times before a child accepts it—so keep trying. If not now, try again in a few days. Don't let your own food biases limit your baby's preferences. Your baby or toddler may like those foods!

Learning to enjoy a variety of solid foods helps establish a lifetime of good eating habits. This is why variety is so important, even in the early years.

Fruits and Vegetables

They're good sources of vitamin C, beta carotene, other nutrients, and phytonutrients. By offering these foods frequently at mealtime, children become familiar with fruit and vegetable flavors. That helps set the stage for accepting and enjoying them throughout life.

Consider these tips for encouraging your baby to eat and enjoy vegetables and fruits. Introduce them in any order. If you want to start with applesauce, bananas, and carrots, that's fine. Offer new flavors along with familiar vegetables and fruit. Respect what your baby likes and may not like. No one fruit or vegetable is essential for health, so relax. Start now by encouraging a rainbow of colorful vegetables and fruits. The goal? Learning to like as many vegetables and fruits as possible.

Breads, Cereals, and Other Grain Foods

Offer iron-fortified cereal to babies and toddlers. To enhance iron absorption, serve those that contain iron along with foods that contain vitamin C, such as fruits and fortified infant juices. Other grain products include soft, cooked pasta or rice, soft breads, dry cereals, crackers, and teething biscuits.

Caution with high-fiber foods: Some high-fiber cereals, such as bran, are low in calories yet high in bulk. Avoid offering large amounts of them to infants; they fill a small stomach without providing many nutrients or calories. Infants and young children can get enough fiber from a variety of foods.

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Green Smoothies

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