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eagletribune

Published: 02/02/2007

Good eating habits begin in babyhood



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Moms worry about their children not eating enough fruits and vegetables, but there's a simple way to ensure they enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout their lives. Keep offering the fruits and vegetables your baby loves as she moves from baby food to table food.

Foods children learn to like in the first two years of life are the foods they'll enjoy when they're older. So it's important to teach your toddler the healthy habit of enjoying a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables. In a typical week on baby food, a little one can consume plums, green beans, apricots, peas, bananas, sweet potatoes, applesauce, squash, pears and many more types of fruits and vegetables. Rarely is the same variety of table food offered in one week.

Foods babies learn to love should continue to be offered as they grow into toddlers. For example, sweet potatoes are available all-year round but aren't regularly consumed once babies move to table foods. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, an important source of vitamin A for the body, so don't save them just for the holidays! Substitute a baked sweet potato for a regular baked potato, or cut them into "fries" before baking to make them more kid-friendly. If baby's favorite fruit or vegetable isn't in season now that she's a toddler look for it canned or frozen.

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. It can take 10 to 15 exposures to a new food for a baby to accept it. So if your toddler rejects a new food try it again later - and then keep trying. Just be sure to include some of her favorite foods along with the new foods you're offering. Set a good example by eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables yourself.

Products designed specifically for toddlers can make adding fruits and vegetables to your toddler's diet easy and convenient. Gerber has launched a full line of Organic choices for every phase of baby's growth, including whole grain cereals, pureed fruits and vegetables, dinners, juices and toddler items. Gerber Organic Mini Fruits are bite-sized snacks made from 100 percent organic freeze-dried fruit. They dissolve easily into soft, easy-to-swallow pieces.

For more nutrition information, tips, and recipes featuring fruits and vegetables visit www.5aday.org.

- Courtesy of ARA Content

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