As a company committed to helping babies build positive, healthy relationships with food, Beech-Nut commissioned an extensive analysis of dietary patterns of 0-24 month olds to identify areas where guidelines and strategies may be able to help create a seamless transition to table foods.
The study analyzed 10 years of food and beverage consumption data between 0-24 months from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES). The startling results show that as infants move from baby food to whole food, they are eating more French fries, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets than they are vegetables and whole grains. Furthermore, by 12 months they are consuming adult levels of sodium and added sugars.
This is particularly concerning when you look at the mounting evidence which suggests that proper nutrition in the first two years of life is critical to promoting good, long-term health, vitality as well as preventing obesity.
Why aren’t babies getting the nutrition they need early on? There are a lot of thoughts and theories including the fact that there is a great deal of confusion about when to introduce food-based nutrition into babies’ diets, and what those foods and beverages should be.
It’s clear from the analysis that more work needs to be done in educating and helping parents make informed choices during those pivotal 2 years, and of course beyond.
The specifics of the research are scary.
There are times where I have to sneak veggies for my kids. They are big time fruit lovers (and French fries, too), but I know it’s hard. I think that fast food makes it so much easier to feed our children sweetened beverages, French fries and sodium. There are also many more working moms who don’t always have time or feel like they have time to make home cooked meals so they know what goes into them.
I think it is generally harder to make sure we are cooking well-rounded meals in the very short amount of time we have every day. Adding to that, keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand isn’t always easy.
After seeing this, I think I’m doing an okay job with my kids. I cook most meals at home and we don’t add salt, but I know I can do better. I know I can get even more fruits and vegetables and whole grains in them and less of the other stuff even if I have to put it in a frozen pop.
I’m going to remember the 7 tips I shared for helping kids eat more vegetables and protein and remind myself that tastes change all the time and keep offering them even if they make a face!
Want more tips?
Keep that baby food in the house longer! Use baby food in the kitchen to make recipes that your baby and whole family can enjoy:
Blend pureed carrots like Beech-Nut® Naturals™ just carrots into tomato sauce.
Add pureed chickpeas and cauliflower into macaroni and cheese.
Top unsweetened, plain yogurt with real fruit purees in place of buying the flavored.
Create toast with pureed sweet pea spreads instead of sweetened jams and salted butters and cheeses.
Throw pureed green beans into meatballs or meat sauces.
Combine pureed bananas with pancake mixes.
Check out Nicole Silber’s tip sheet for parents on the Beech-Nut blog for even more tips like these!
How do you keep your little one’s diet well-rounded and keep them eating healthier foods?