Posts for category: Diet and Nutrition
Get the facts on your child’s ideal diet and more.
We know how challenging it can be for kids to get all the nutrients they need from diet alone, especially if your child has food allergies, dietary restrictions or is simply a picky eater. We’ve compiled the top questions about childhood nutrition. If you have questions, your pediatrician can provide additional info and support.
When Can I Start To Introduce Solid Foods Into My Baby’s Diet?
You should begin to incorporate solid foods into your baby’s diet at around 6 months old. By 7-8 months, your child should be eating a lot more solid foods, from veggies and fruits to yogurt, protein and whole grains. Let your child sample one food at a time, which is also the best way to spot any food allergies. Talk with your pediatrician if your child develops a rash or other problems after consuming an allergenic food.
How Much Water Should My Child Consume?
It’s important for everyone to stay hydrated, and that includes children, too. A good rule of thumb is for your child to consume as many eight-ounce glasses of water as their age. For example, if your child is six years old they should consume six eight-ounce glasses of water. Of course, if your child is out in the sun or playing sports it’s important that they consume more water. Fruit juices and sodas are not considered a good alternative for ensuring your child gets enough fluids every day. Water is always the best and healthiest choice.
Is It Okay for My Child To Eat the Same Thing Every Day?
When it comes to your child’s diet it’s best to spice things up and add variety and rotation to daily meals. Sure, there may be some foods that your child just loves more than others, but it’s important that they are getting a good balance and mix of healthy fats, protein, fiber and complex carbs.
I’m Concerned About My Child’s Weight. Now What?
If you are worried about your child’s recent weight gain or that they aren’t eating enough, you should talk with your pediatrician about the best ways to help them manage their weight through proper diet and exercise. We can provide effective solutions and advice for how to tweak your child’s current diet to support their weight gain or loss needs.
These are baseline numbers that may fluctuate based on certain factors, so it’s important to speak with your child’s pediatrician to determine your child’s own dietary needs.
Your child is growing by leaps and bounds, so it should go without saying that the foods they consume can provide ample energy and fuel their mind and body, or they can cause deficiencies, mood swings, sluggishness, and health problems. Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance and establishing healthy eating habits early on can greatly benefit your child for both the short-term and for the future.
With childhood obesity still being a very serious and real problem in our country, it’s never too early to start your child eating a healthy, balanced diet. It’s amazing how what you eat can either help or harm your health. Here are some tips to support good nutrition in your little one.
Don’t Forget Breakfast
While busy parents might forget to eat first thing in the morning (or turn to coffee to get that burst of energy) growing children should not skip out on breakfast. Making sure they have a hearty protein-rich breakfast will help them stay fuller longer. Greek yogurt or eggs can be a great source of protein. Couple that with whole grains and some veggies and you have the ultimate, energized breakfast.
Let Your Child Be an Active Participant
If you just tell your child what to eat all the time it’s can be far more challenging to have them eat what they should and children don’t really understand for themselves why certain foods are good for them. Getting your child actively involved in their own nutrition is a great and invaluable lesson that they will carry with them throughout life. Let them choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Plant a garden together and show them how to tend to herbs and vegetables. Make cooking together a priority and enjoy time with the family while teaching your child how to cook.
Revamp Your Diet
We know that it can be difficult to completely transition your child into a healthier lifestyle, particularly if eating habits haven’t been the best so far; however, a pediatrician can help guide you through the process to help you make simple decisions that could greatly improve your child’s diet. Simply swapping out certain unhealthy options for healthier ones might be all you need. For example, replace soda with flavored water, ice cream with yogurt, and potato chips with mixed nuts.
Sugar in Moderation
Okay, we know it’s impossible to prevent your child from ever consuming sugar (after all, what’s a birthday party without the birthday cake?); however, you should limit how much sugar your child consumes each day. Keep sodas, sports drinks, desserts and the like out of the house to prevent temptation. Sure, these treats aren’t that bad for you when consumed sparingly, but we all know the negative effect sugar has on our physical and mental health.
If you have questions about your child’s nutritional habits or their health, it’s important that you have a pediatrician that you trust to provide you with the comprehensive and understanding care you and your little one need. Turn to a pediatrician today to have all your questions and concerns addressed regarding your child’s nutrition and lifestyle.
Have you heard about the Amherst Pediatrics Summer Health Challenge? The Challenge lasts all summer: June 26th-August 25th and is a fun way for you and your family to make healthy eating choices and get more exercise. Kids of all ages are welcome to join and they do not have to be patients of ours in order to sign up!
Using the SuperTracker website, you earn points by participating in some type of physical activity or healthy eating. All members who are entering their activities into their SuperTracker profile will be entered into a weekly raffle. Prizes will be awarded to participants with the most points at the end of the summer as well.
Physical activity points can be earned by doing lots of different things like walking, running, dancing, playing a sport, mowing the lawn, etc. You can earn points by making sure to eat fruits, vegetables, and other healthy choices throughout the day. Create a profile on the SuperTracker website:
Summer is here and that means a lot of kids are not getting their daily breakfast, lunch, andsnacks at school. This added cost can be a burden for some families. Luckily there are a lot of towns and schools that offer free meals for kids under age 18:
Amherst Survival Center SUMMER BOOST: Families with school-age children will receive extra food per child from the Pantry (the equivalent of nine additional meals), in their June, July and August distributions. In addition, families can also come to the Amherst Survival Center for food from these Center programs:
- Lunch Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from noon-1pm,
- Light supper on Thursdays from 5-6pm, and
- Get fresh produce from 11am-3pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and from 11am to 7pm on Thursday.
The Amherst Pelham Regional School District is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge. Meals will be provided at the sites and times as follows:
- Meadowbrook Apartments - Meal Service Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 491 Bridge Rd, Florence, MA 01062
Greenfield Public Schools The “Eat 4 Free” Program: From June 26-August 18 at six different sites. Kids will be able to get free meals Monday through Friday, every workday of the summer aside from July 4. Free breakfast will run from 8 to 9 a.m. and free lunch will go from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The sites in Greenfield include:
- Greenfield YMCA
- Greenfield Gardens
- Oak Courts
- Greenfield High School
- Leyden Woods
- The Green River Swimming and Recreation Area
In addition to these sites, kids can also get free lunch at the Greenfield Farmers Market from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, running from July 1 to Aug. 12. Special to this year, there will be several incentives for kids to eat breakfast through the program, including the chance to win a bicycle.
Gill-Montague School District: Seven locations throughout the summer for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. There is no enrollment or cost to participate.
- Turners Falls High School Cafeteria: Bfst 8:30-9am; Lunch 11:30-12:30pm (Mon-Thurs,7/5-8/10)
- Sheffield Elementary School Cafeteria: Bfst 8:30-9am; Lunch 11:30-12:30pm (Mon-Thurs; 7/10-8/10)
- Unity Park Field House: Bfst 8:30-9am; Lunch 11:30-12:30pm (Mon-Friday; 7/3-8/18)
- Highland Park, Miller s Falls: Lunch Only 12:00-12:30pm (Mon-Friday; 7/10-8/10)
- The Brick House Community Resource Center, Turners Falls: Lunch Only 11:30-12:30pm (Mon-Thurs 7/5-8/17)
- Erving Elementary School: Bfst 8:30-9am; Lunch 12-1:00pm (Mon-Friday 7/5-8/18)
- Carnegie Library: Snack 3:30-4:30; (Tuesday’s 7/11-8/15)
Giving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?
Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.
Is my baby ready for solids?
As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.
- Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
- Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.
- Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.
To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.
Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.
As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.