As your baby is growing with each month, it is a time to enjoy teaching them new things and exploring new foods. As we begin the holiday season, here are some things we need to avoid especially if your baby is under one year old.
You should avoid using sugar or other sweeteners in your baby’s food before their 1st birthday. You want your baby to appreciate the natural taste of food; children today consume far too much sugar. Sugar contains empty calories that fill your baby up, leaving less room for nutritious foods. If you want to add sweetness to your baby dish, add some purée of fruit.
There is plenty of sugar that is hidden in baby foods, so remember to read the labels wisely and learn the different ways sugars are hidden in your foods.
When scouring the ingredient list, the key things to keep in mind are:
The higher up the ingredient is on the list, the more added sugar there is! Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so if you see a sugar lingering in first few ingredients, chances are the product is pretty high in the added sweet stuff. Words such as ‘sugar’, ‘syrup’, ‘juice’, ‘concentrate’ or even ‘crystals’ one should be wary of. Words ending in ‘-ose’ like glucose, fructose, dextrose or sucrose that are listed on a label are added sugars. Note: if they are naturally occurring, like glucose in whole fruit, it won’t be listed as an ingredient.
Even for older kids, there are hidden sugars everywhere
AVOID COWS MILK
First of all, whole cows milk should never be used to replace breast milk or formula, both of which contain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acid that cow’s milk just doesn’t have. Cow’s milk has low iron content and also contains compounds that inhibit your baby’s ability to absorb iron. In addition, your baby’s immature kidneys can’t handle the high levels of protein and minerals in cow’s milk. Some babies may also have difficulty digesting the proteins as well as sugar lactose.
DON’T GIVE HONEY
Honey can be contaminated by botulism spores, which produce toxins that can be harmful to your baby. Adults and babies over 1 year are able to fight these toxins; however, young babies don’t have the immune system to cope with the toxins.
DON’T GIVE SALT
According to Kidney Care UK, Baby don’t require sodium, too much salt can actually strain your baby’s kidney. Instead of salt, use herbs and spice to season your baby’s food. After one year you can put a small amount to season their food. Contrary to what you might think, the salt shaker is not the main cause of too much sodium in the diet. Rather, most of our dietary sodium intake comes from eating packaged and restaurant foods. Learn to read the labels on packaged food before giving them to your little one. Foods like Jarred tomato sauce, canned soup, and packaged macaroni and cheese are often loaded with sodium.
DON’T GIVE SMALL FOODS THAT ARE CHOKING HAZARDS.
Foods like whole nuts, hot dog pieces, popcorn, whole grapes, chunks of meat or cheese, and raw vegetables are choking hazards and should be avoided. Also, don’t give your baby sticky foods like marshmallows or chewing gum. Nut butter like peanut or almond butter are okay but should be spread thinly on bread or crackers, not given in large spoonful or chunks.
DON’T GIVE RAW MILK CHEESES
Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria through heating. Some cheeses, especially soft cheeses like Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort and Mexican cheeses like ‘queso Blanco’ White cheese, and ‘queso fresco’ fresh cheese are more likely to contain unpasteurized milk and should be avoided. Firm cheese like cheddar an Swiss are generally safe, but remember to read labels and make sure the products are made with pasteurized milk.
DON’T GIVE UNDERCOOKED OR RAW MEAT, SEAFOOD, OR EGGS.
Cook meat, poultry, fish, and eggs fully to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. Refer to the food temperature guide to see the safe minimum internal temperature for the food.
FOOD TEMPERATURE GUIDE.
These are the USDA-FDA recommended safe minimum internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to be most accurate.
Fish — 145F
Egg dish —160F
Ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb —160F
Beef, pork, veal, steak, roasts and chops — 145F
Turkey, chicken, and duck (including ground)—165F
MILK VS. YOGURT (AND CHEESE)
Although cow’s milk is not recommended before your baby’s first birthday, as mentioned, you can introduce dairy products like yogurt and cheese earlier. Why? Because the culturing process results in the breakdown of lactose making yogurt and cheese to digest easier to digest. Greek yogurt in particular is extensively trained, which removes a lot of the lactose content.
WORRIED ABOUT YOUR BABY’S HEALTH?
Learn to read labels. And research on brands of foods you are providing to your baby. For more information about labels, click “Read More” in the below and learn about the Clean Label Project
Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, World Health Organization, That Sugar Movement