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Welcome to Our Parents Page

We at Catholic Medical Partners understand the issues many parents encounter when faced with the task of feeding their children. We have dedicated this web page to all things food and nutrition related to help lift some of that burden.

Click the links below to read more on any of these topics:

Family

Infants & Toddlers

Kids & Teens

Additional Resources


Tips for a Healthy Family

Encourage Portion‐Wise Behavior:
  • Allow children to serve themselves if possible.
  • Encourage small “first portions”, reassuring children that they can have “seconds” if still hungry.
  • Encourage children to eat slowly and take small bites. It takes 15‐20 minutes for the brain to realize it is full.
  • Package snack items in individual servings.
  • Insist that snacks be eaten from a small plate or bowl, NOT the original box or bag.
  • Do not force your child to clean their plate. This creates a bad habit of eating when there is food present, even if not hungry.
Start with Breakfast:
  • Provide nutritious foods that are also fast and convenient, such as mini bagels, low‐fat granola bars, fruits, and yogurt.
  • Help your child get organize the night before so that they have time to eat in the morning.
  • If your child is in a hurry, offer foods such as fruits or trail mix to eat on the way to school.
Dining-Out Downfalls to Dodge:
  • Limit eating out to one or two times a week.
  • Keep fast‐food orders to a “regular” or “small”. Avoid supersized meals and other “deals” that promote overeating.
  • Order an appetizer and salad as your meal.
  • Share an entrée, order a half portion or ask for a to‐go container as soon as the meal comes to the table (pack half away for lunch the next day).
  • Watch your take out sizes. Order a smaller pizza and supplement with a salad.
Don't Drink your Calories:
  • Sodas and fruit drinks are items that have a lot of calories with limited or no nutrition.
  • Emphasize water or diluted 100% fruit juice (limit the juice portion to 4oz. daily).
  • Choose low‐fat milk (skim or 1%) vs. higher fat. The low fat version has just as much nutrition without the extra calories.
Variety is the Spice of Life:
  • Meals should have a representative from at least 3 different food groups: starch, fruits, vegetables, meat/beans, dairy.
  • Five servings of fruits and vegetables should be the target each day.
  • Try different spices and fun shapes to make meals exciting.
  • Include the children when menu planning!

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Tips for Feeding Your Baby

  • When beginning on solid foods, introduce one food at a time. Give this food five to seven days prior to introducing a new food, this allow you to see if there is an allergic reaction to the new food.
  • Start with small amounts first, try a teaspoon then gradually move on to a tablespoon.
  • First solid foods include dry infant cereals, once these are accepted try and add vegetables, then fruits and meats.
  • Do not add salt or sugar when making homemade baby foods. Canned foods also should not be used because they may contain high amounts of sugar or salt.
  • Iron fortified infant cereals should be fed until the baby is 18 months old.
  • Cow’s milk should not be added until 12 months; it does not provide enough nutrients for your infant.
  • When introducing fruit juice, try ones without sugar. These can be introduced when your baby is able to drink from a cup (around 6 months+)
  • Feed your infant with a spoon only.
  • Only formula and water / breast milk should go into a bottle.
  • Avoid any form of honey.
  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle. This is linked to ear infections and choking.
  • Ask your pediatrician how to wean your baby off the bottle.
  • Most babies require little to no extra water, except in very warm weather. When solid food is introduced extra water is often needed.
  • Offer a wide variety of foods to your baby; do not limit them to only the ones you like.
  • Limit juice to 4‐6 ounces per day.   Dilute fruit juices with water: 50% water to 50% juice.

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When to Introduce New Foods

Feeding During the First Year of Life

Feeding your baby during the first year of life is very important and can help you baby later in life. The first year of life is where the most growth occurs for your baby. Introducing new foods is also important and can help achieve healthy eating habits later in life, as well as growth and development.  The chart below is also available in a PDF for printing.

Age What to feed Signs your baby might be ready for food advancement
0-4 Months

Breast milk or formula ONLY

.
4-6 Months

Breast milk or formula PLUS:

  • Semi-liquid iron‐fortified rice cereal

Once tolerating rice cereal advance to other grain cereals like oats or barley (for better nutrition look for whole grains on food label).

Watch for:

  • Holding up head
  • Sits in highchair
  • Makes chewing motion
  • Birth weight has doubled
  • Interest in food
  • Closes mouth around spoon
  • Moves food from front to back of mouth
  • Can move tongue back and forth
  • Seems hungry after 8‐10 feedings with breast milk/formula
  • Is teething
6-8 Months

Breast milk or formula PLUS:

  • Iron‐fortified cereals (rice, oats, barley). Look for whole grains on label.
  • Pureed or strained vegetables
  • Pureed or strained fruits*

* Introduction of vegetables before fruits is recommended.

Watch for same things from 4-6 months

8-10 Months

Breast milk or formula PLUS:

  • Small amounts of pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese (no cow’s milk until age 1)
  • Iron‐fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Mashed vegetables and fruits
  • Finger Foods (lightly toasted bagel, cut up; small pieces of ripe banana; well‐cooked spiral pasta; teething crackers; low sugar cereal)
  • Small amounts of protein (egg, pureed meats, poultry and boneless fish; tofu; well‐cooked and mashed beans with soft skins like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans)
  • Non‐citrus juice (apple or pear)

Ready for solid / finger foods when:

Same as 6-8 months PLUS:

  • Picks up objects with thumb and forefinger
  • Transfers items from one hand to other
  • Puts everything in mouth
  • Moves jaw in chewing motion
10-12 Months

Breast milk or formula PLUS:

  • Small amounts of pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese(no cow’s milk until age 1)
  • Iron‐fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Fruit cut into cubes or strips, or mashed
  • Bite‐size, soft cooked vegetables (peas, carrots)
  • Combo foods (macaroni and cheese, casseroles)
  • Small amounts of protein (egg, pureed meats, poultry and boneless fish; tofu; well‐cooked and mashed beans with soft skins like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans)
  • Non‐citrus juice (apple or pear)

Watch for same as 8-10 months PLUS:

  • Swallows food more easily
  • Has more teeth
  • No longer pushes food out with tongue
  • Trying to use spoon

Prior to advancing your baby’s diet, consult with your physician.

**Do not introduce the following foods due to choking hazards: whole grapes, hot dogs, whole cherries, raw carrots, hard candy

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Healthy Snacking

Reasons to Snack

Snacking can be healthy for all kids, no matter how much they weigh. Snacks are a great way for kids to eat foods and nutrients they may have missed at a meal.

Healthy snacks can also help kids with their weight. Eating healthy snacks at a regularly scheduled time, like after school, helps kids be less hungry throughout the day. This can keep them from overeating at the next meal.

Making Healthy Snack Choices

Some snacks are better for kids than others. Candy, potato chips, and soft drinks have lots of extra calories but hardly any nutrients. It is okay to eat these snacks once in a while. But for a healthier snack, choose low-fat, low-sugar foods from the five main food groups: Grains,Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, and Meat and Beans.

  • Make sure the snack has more than one food group. These snacks provide more nutrients.
  • Look for ways to cut fat and sugar.
    • Choose foods with the least amount of fat. For example, choose low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
    • Pick foods without added sugar. For example, try a whole grain bagel instead of a doughnut.
  • Have a vegetable, fruit, or food made with whole grains. Vegetables, fruits, and foods made with whole grains are full of nutrients that kids need. They also have fiber, which helps the body feel full.
For a healthy snack, try choosing one item from each list:
Carbohydrates Proteins
Apple (1 small) 1% or Skim Milk (8 oz.)
Banana (1 small) Yogurt (6 oz.)
Light Popcorn (3 cups) Cheese (1 oz.)
English Muffin (½) Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp.)
Saltines (6) Nuts (¼ cup)
Mini Rice Cakes (8) Cottage Cheese (¼ cup)
High Fiber Granola Bar Hummus (2 Tbsp.)
Snack size crackers (10-15) Lean Deli Meat (1 oz.)
Graham Crackers (3 squares)
Pretzels (1 oz.)
Grapes (15)
Fresh Fruit (1 small piece)
Unsweetened Apple Sauce (½ cup)
Baby Carrots (10)
Raw Veggies (1 cup)
Berries (¾ - 1 cup)
Some fun ideas…
  • Trail Mix: Fill a small bag with whole grain cereal then toss in some raisins and peanuts.
  • You-Go Yogurt: Mix whole-grain cereal and some chopped pineapple into a cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt.
  • Veggie Tray: Dip baby carrots and sliced peppers in hummus.

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Granola Bars Comparison

Granola Bar Calories Sugar Fiber
Chewy Chocolate Chip 100 7g 1g
Chewy Chocolate Chip (25% less sugar) 100 5g 1g
Fiber One Chocolate Chip 140 10g 9g
Fiber One Chocolate Chip (90 calorie) 90 5g 5g
Kudos Chocolate Chip Granola Bar 120 11g 1g
Special K Chocolaty Chip Cookie 90 8g 3g
Special K Strawberry 90 8g 3g
Nutrigrain Bar (Mixed Berry) 120 11g 3g
Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate 120 8g 4g
Kashi GoLean Crunchy! (Chocolate / Almond) 170 13g 5g
Nature Valley Oats n’ Honey 180 12g 2g
Nature Valley Chocolate / Nut Trail Mix 140 14g 1g
Nature Valley Vanilla Yogurt 140 14g 1g
Nature Valley Sweet n’ Salty (Almond) 160 12g 2g
Nature Valley Nut Crunch (Peanut) 190 6g 2g
Nature Valley Granola Thins 80 6g <1g
         
= Top Healthy Picks      

Nutrition Information Based on Serving Size Listed on Product Packaging

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