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Building Healthy Eating Habits

A recent href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16709587/site/newsweek/">Newsweek
brought my attention to a new free booklet put out
by the nonprofit organization href="http://www.zerotothree.org">Zero to Three a
valuable parenting resource site that’s listed on my target="_blank"
Top 5s Page.

This new booklet, “Healthy From the Start”, is endorsed
by the American Academy of Pediatrics and outlines sensible and
healthy eating habits for babies and toddlers – and more
importantly, what we as parents can do to encourage these

Eating can be an incredibly stressful
topic in a household: first there’s the newborn with the
whole nursing thing. Then just when you get that down and start to
feel like a pro, it’s time to introduce solids and you feel
like you’re starting over! Studying up on what to introduce
first, when to feed, how often, and more, you may feel like
you’re cramming for your college exams all over again. Then
there’s finger foods and the whole choking issue, learning to
self-feed . . . the task feels never-ending.

Then of course there’s wanting to make sure your child is
getting enough to eat and a healthy variety. Is your child growing
fast enough? Too fast? What if he’s a picky eater? Should you
force the issue with the strained peas? Enroll your baby girl in
the Clean Plate Club?

And finally, there’s a lot of societal and familial pressure
to deal with. Kids are inundated with junk food commercials while
grandparents are telling you to force junior to eat all the carrots
whether he’s hungry or not. What are you supposed to do???

I’m not going to give you many words of wisdom here – I
want you to go read that free booklet for yourself. It’s
chock-full of guidelines by age from birth to 36 months, and
includes questions to ask yourself to get to the heart of your
particular eating habits and where they come from. I will say,
though, that in a nutshell the verdict is that toddlers will
instinctively eat enough and a healthy variety if offered an array
of healthy choices, not pressured, and allowed to decide when
they’re full. The Clean Plate Club, a result of parents and
grandparents raised during the money-pinching Great Depression, is
no longer useful in a society with such rampant childhood obesity.
And p.s. – a big part of raising a healthy eater is being one
yourself, since kids will imitate what they see. Persuading them to
eat their asparagus while you down a Big Mac is going to be a hard

So go to the href="http://www.zerotothree.org">Zero to Three website
and check out their free booklet. You'll have to sign up for their
emails in order to get it, but the site is so great you'll be glad
you did. It’s definitely worth your while.


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