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:
- Tips for a Healthy Family
- Be a Healthy Role Model for Children: 10 Tips for Setting Good Examples (choosemyplate.gov)
- How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label (fda.gov)
- Teach your Children to Read a Nutrition Facts Label (source: fda.gov)
- Learn about Body Mass Index (BMI) (cdc.gov)
- Children and Teen BMI Calculator (cdc.gov)
Infants & Toddlers
- Tips for Feeding Your Baby
- When to Introduce New Foods
- Feeding Your Newborn (mayoclinic.org)
- Toddler Portion Sizes
Kids & Teens
- Healthy Snacking
- Granola Bars Comparison
- Healthy Eating Plan by Age Group (ages 2-18)
- Encouraging a Healthy Body Image (kidshealth.org)
- Eating Disorders Helpline (nationaleatingdisorders.org)
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!
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.
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|
Breast milk or formula ONLY
Breast milk or formula PLUS:
Once tolerating rice cereal advance to other grain cereals like oats or barley (for better nutrition look for whole grains on food label).
Breast milk or formula PLUS:
* Introduction of vegetables before fruits is recommended.
Watch for same things from 4-6 months
Breast milk or formula PLUS:
Ready for solid / finger foods when:
Same as 6-8 months PLUS:
Breast milk or formula PLUS:
Watch for same as 8-10 months PLUS:
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
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:
|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.)|
|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.
Granola Bars Comparison
|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