Babies don't need many calories, but they do need lots of nutrients. Yet some foods commonly offered to babies are essentially junk food – high in calories, sugar, or salt, and low in nutrients.
Because babies are so small, it's easy for them to fill up quickly on the empty calories in junk food, leaving no room for nutrient-rich healthy foods. That's why it's important to know which foods are best for babies and which ones to avoid, including junk food and potential choking hazards. Here's HappyMom.Life's list of the worst food choices for babies.
Hot Dogs And Other Dangerous Foods
Hard, sticky, slippery, chunky, and round foods are unsafe for young children because they can easily choke on them. So don't give your baby hot dogs, sausages, large pieces of meat or cheese, whole grapes, popcorn, chunky raw vegetables, and whole nuts and seeds.And once you start serving your baby finger foods, be sure to cut food into pieces no larger than half an inch.
Some babies are served soft drinks daily as early as 9 months of age, according to a 2008 survey of infant and toddler feeding habits. The same survey found that by 24 months, more than 10 percent of toddlers were drinking soda every day.
Whether regular or diet, soda provides absolutely no nutrients, and filling up on either type means babies eat and drink less of the nutritious food their bodies really need. Regular soda also contains loads of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
Another major 2008 study found that about 14 percent of 9-month-olds eat fries at least once a week. That figure goes up to more than 40 percent by 12 months of age, making french fries among the top vegetables consumed by toddlers – and marking the start of an unhealthy habit.
It's a good idea to minimize all fast food because it's loaded with fat, sugar, salt, and calories but low in healthy nutrients. If you do need to grab a bite on the go, look for baby-friendly options. Many chains now offer healthier choices, including yogurt and applesauce.
People define 'processed' in different ways, but in general, the more the food is modified from what was originally caught, raised, or grown – and the longer the list of ingredients – the more processed it is.The more processed the food, the more nutritional value tends to go down, and the more the sugar, salt, and fat content goes up
Meals made specifically for babies can be healthy and appropriate. The best prepared baby foods have few ingredients and no added salt, sugar, or modified food starch.
Most varieties are nearly all sugar, artificial color, and artificial flavor with a small amount of gelatin to make it wiggly. Homemade gelatin made with fruit juice and sugar eliminates the artificial additives, but it's still essentially just fruit juice and sweetener.
True, gelatin is easy to swallow. A suggestion for a healthy, baby-friendly dessert: a baked, mashed apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon. It's naturally sweet and has good fiber, vitamins, and a yummy, smooth texture.
Juice And Fruit Drinks
Sure, these beverages contain fruit, but that doesn't mean they're healthy. The fiber in fresh fruit is largely lost in the juicing process, and what's left is a whole lot of sugar. Juice can also cause diarrhea in some babies.And don't be fooled by advertisers' claims that juice provides babies with necessary vitamin C. Babies can easily get their vitamin C from one small serving of fruit. Juice is not recommended for babies younger than 12 months.
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