Establishing Healthy Eating...

When it comes to feeding babies and toddlers, the main concern many parents have is how to choose foods that are tasty and will teach them healthy eating habits. After all, learning how to eat healthy is not innate; instead, people have to be taught how to eat healthy and it’s never too early to start. Fortunately, establishing healthy eating habits for infants and toddlers isn’t as complicated as it seems, especially if you use a little common sense.

The Basics: What You Need to Know

For the first year in a baby’s life, they should get most of their nutrition from either breast milk or formula. At around six months, most parents begin to add solid foods, but keep in mind that breast milk or formula should still be their main source of nutrition.

Babies need to remain on breast milk or formula until they are one year old, at which time you can switch them to whole milk. Solid foods should include pureed baby food and eventually finger foods such as soft diced vegetables and fruit without any salt or other things added.

These things may sound simple but they are crucial when it comes to establishing mealtime routines and healthy habits for your child. Babies are watching what you do and how you’re taking care of them, including the food you give them. The first rule of thumb is that everything you feed them should be pure and as fresh as possible with no sugar, salt, butter, etc., added to it. If you give them diced carrots, for example, they should be eating only the carrots with nothing added.

Let’s Get Specific!

As a general rule, what your baby eats will depend on their age, and here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Zero to six months: Breast milk or baby formula only.
  • Six to eight months: No dairy. Start solids with two tablespoons of single-grain cereal mixed with a little breast milk or formula. Start them with cereal, then add veggies, and finally, fruits. Your goal should be to feed them two to three tablespoons of each food once or twice a day.
  • Eight to twelve months: At this age, you can add a little bit of dairy. You can continue to feed them cereal, veggies, and fruits, and you can add cottage cheese, yogurt, or cheese in small amounts once a day.

If you eat healthy yourself, there is nothing wrong with letting your baby have a little bit of what you’re eating, as long as it’s soft, cut up into small pieces, and nutritious. There are also foods that babies should never get in the first year of life, including cow’s milk, honey, hard foods like raw fruits and vegetables, any type of fruit juice (they’re just empty calories), and sticky foods such as peanut butter.

Yet another rule of thumb is to keep portion sizes small. If you compare portion sizes for adults in the United States, they are much bigger than in other countries, so the sooner babies learn about portion size, the better. When you’re feeding them any of the foods listed above, stick with one to two tablespoons per serving and no more.

Ways to Develop Healthy Eating Routines for Your Baby

Eating healthy takes more than just feeding your baby the right foods. They also need to establish a routine for eating their meals because the right baby feeding schedules help teach them the importance of eating at regular intervals throughout the day.

Here are some tips that can make this happen:

  • Try to feed the baby at the same time every day. Babies like routine, and knowing that they’ll be fed at certain times throughout the day, every day, is something they’ll love.
  • Eat as a family whenever you can. Babies love eating with the rest of the family, and they’ll learn something new every time they do so.
  • Make sure the environment is calm. Meal times can be messy and fun, but they shouldn’t be unpleasant or too chaotic.
  • Encourage them to feed themselves. Babies might be awkward with a spoon at first, but it’s the only way for them to get good at it.
  • Establish some type of post-meal routine. Let the baby see you pick up dishes and clean up so they can know that mealtime is done.

Promoting healthy eating in babies is not difficult, but it is still an important task if you want to give your baby the best start in life. They deserve nothing less.


Giving babies a healthy start in life requires a little planning on your part, but it is not difficult. Feeding them the right foods at the right age and making sure that all of the foods you give them are nutritious, soft, and cut into small pieces makes a huge difference. So does feeding them at regular intervals, letting them eat with the family, and encouraging them to feed themselves.

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