MiaToddlerEating
The Right Way to Eat

Here is some food for thought to get you going for the week to come…I thought I would add something to your palate after we all lost an hour to the Sun! Now, let’s get to it…

This one is for my fellow Moms, Dads, Grandparents and pretty much anyone who takes on the duties associated with childcare. Being Mom to a toddler and actively involved in some of the programs our community has to offer, I thought I would share some of the information I have attained since my journey as a parent began. After taking part in several classes and programs offered by Public Health in both Toronto and York Region, and speaking with workers in the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, I came up with the following list:

The 5 Worst Toddler Eating Habits

#1. TOO MUCH JUICE

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I’m thinking that a glass of pure fruit juice a day is just another casualty of the 80’s, and the same time when juicers went mainstream. If you haven’t already heard, a full glass of fruit juice, all natural or not, equates to way too much sugar…or glucose! I will just continue with the assumption that you know the difference between sugar and glucose, and say that small children are not to have more than 125 ml of fruit juice PER DAY. And if you hate measurements as much as I do, then simply put, it is a small glass of juice. Any public health professional will tell you that eating the actual fruit itself is the best way of absorbing the nutrients that it offers. Even in the face of the Nutri-bullet argument…trust me, I’ve presented their case many a time.

#2. SNACKS WITH NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE

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Now, you’re probably thinking Animal Crackers are the worst of toddler snacks…they actually aren’t and have a whole 2 grams of fibre and a mere 6 grams of sugar. THAT BEING SAID, it is still not your ideal snack food as it is highly processed without any real nutritional value, but unlike MOST other baby snacks, has some fibre. If you don’t believe me, go and check out the grocery aisles for yourself. I have, and as a result do not buy any baby or toddler snacks for my daughter; instead, I grab things based on their ingredients. So, you might be asking why these snacks exist (and thrive) in the first place?

My conclusion, after careful observation of my friends and their kids, is that they are at the very least, edible to small children. Getting a toddler to eat anything at all is sometimes, or most times, an extremely mind bending experience. I guess in some cases, parents are just happy that their kid is eating anything at all…and if it has an FDA approved label on it – then have at it! I get it. I really do.

To this day, I have not found a baby food product (other than cereal and formula) that has any nutritional value. This is particularly true, and disappointing, of snacks that claim to be made from various vegetables or cheeses. All you have to do is look at the nutritional values on the label to see if anything has transferred over into the finished product. That is, after all of the processing the ingredients endure from farm to table.

#3. TODDLER BISCUITS

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All biscuits are bad and should be given in moderation.

It does not matter if they are digestive.

It doesn’t matter if there is a picture of a baby on the packaging.

It also doesn’t matter if they are for infants aged 6 months and over – they are useless nutritionally and empty empty empty calories.

I really do not know what else to relay on the subject.

#4. PUREES ARE NOT A MEAL, NOR A FEEDING CRUTCH FOR MOM AND DAD.

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I am also told that the congee dish served in Asian cuisine, and to small children for years and years, does not have enough nutrients in it. Hey, if you have beef with anything I’m saying you can take it up with Public Health…I’ll give you their number. Oh, and previous pun intended.

#5. DELAYED SELF FEEDING

My friends always look at me in amazement when they see me plop food down on Mia’s tray (or plate) and just walk away. They’re like “isn’t she going to make a huge mess?” or “what if food gets on the floor?” Dear God, No!  That would just be like the apocalypse occurring in my very own living room. No. I actually get a bit irritated by the reactions I often get to trusting my child to self feed and her ability to grasp the concept of table (or high chair) etiquette. Believe me, all I have to do is ask her not to drop her food on the floor, and 95% of the time…she doesn’t! And even if she did – who gives a sh**, it’s a kid, who’s learning, and the mess takes a total of 2 minutes to clean up. I just don’t get it sometimes, ladies (and gentlemen)…

Delayed self feeding is also detrimental to the early development of your child, and causes them to miss out on an important learning curve in their growth and development.

In a nutshell; watch the sugar, sodium and fibre content AND eat WITH your child…training starts at 6 months!

Queen S.

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