If you’ve read many of our posts, you know by now that one of the things we emphasize on this blog is healthy eating. We’re committed to the idea that starting a baby on the healthiest possible foods is the first step to a lifetime of healthy eating for your child.
We’ve written about the importance of feeding your baby fresh, or lightly-cooked, fruits and vegetables. We’ve emphasized that it’s best to offer lean proteins and whole grains, and that you should keep sugar and salt to a minimum. We’ve even touched on whether or not it’s best to buy organic produce for your baby.
Special Occasions Mean Treats!
But sometimes, life throws a special occasion our way, doesn’t it? And many of us tend to mark our special occasions by serving special food — fatty, sweet, calorie-packed treats that delight our taste buds but aren’t so great for our waistlines!
How do we handle these kinds of special occasions with our babies? Do we let them indulge in treats, or do we withhold the junk food?
Below are 5 tips to help you sort out how your’e going to handle special-occasion treats with your baby.
5 Tips On Offering Treats To Your Baby
If your baby won’t miss it, then don’t offer it.
A 6 month old likely has no idea that a warm chocolate chip cookie is one thousand times more delicious than a plate of steamed carrots. So why offer the cookie in the first place, if he’s not going to miss it? What’s more, once he does get a taste for sweet, gooey treats, you can bet he’s going to love them, and that he’s going to clamor for more. So stick with offering healthy foods and skipping junk food for as long as you can.
Load your baby up on healthy foods first.
If you’re headed to a gathering where you know there’s going to be lots of tasty treats, commit to filling your baby up with healthy foods first. That might mean feeding your baby at home, before you leave; it might also mean packing some healthy snacks and taking them with you. Stuff your baby full of nourishing food so that she won’t be hungry for treats. This way, even if you do offer a small treat, she’ll be so full, she probably won’t eat much.
Set the example.
Parents, this one is hard. Believe me, I know. But it’s important! We can’t expect our little ones to embrace healthy eating habits if we as parents aren’t willing to eat healthy, too. Yes, our babies are very young, and they probably aren’t closely watching and evaluating our eating habits at this point. But it’s never too early to start walking the walk, right?
So the next time you and your baby are faced with a table full of delicious treats, make sure you model the eating habits you want your baby to have. This means limiting your own indulgence, and not filling up on sugary, fatty, salty junk food.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
If you do decide to let your baby indulge in a small treat, know in advance that he’s going to want more. And that just makes sense, right? When has anyone ever been content to eat one tiny brownie, when there’s a whole pan available? If your little one beings wailing for more, don’t be afraid to firmly say no. When it comes to food, it’s probably a good idea to set boundaries early, and to let your baby know that when mom or dad says “All done,” it actually means all done.
Remember to relax and enjoy the moment.
It’s a good and wise thing to limit your baby’s intake of treats, of course. Lots of extra sugar isn’t good for our little ones! But let’s remember that a little extra sugar certainly isn’t going to do serious damage. I know many moms who try to follow a “No sugar before 12 months” rule. And while that’s an admirable vow, it doesn’t always play out practically. Special occasions happen, and sometimes, you just have to relax and let your baby eat some cake. It’ll be more fun for everyone if (every once in awhile) you do just that.
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