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Good Food for Thought

By Too Small to Fail

Good Food for Thought

Nutritious food is important to the normal development of very young children. From brain growth to physical strength, healthy food provides the fuel that babies and toddlers need to thrive. But offering healthful food to young children doesn’t have to be stressful for parents and caregivers. There are many ways that parents can help their children enjoy healthy eating—even among picky eaters!

According to decades of clinical studies, good nutrition during the first few years of life are important to normal brain development—providing essential vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins that the brain needs to make new neural connections. Healthful food also provides young children with the energy and strength they need to develop motor skills, language, and even social and emotional skills. Studies of malnourished children show that without the right kinds of nutrition, children have difficulty concentrating, show poor interest in learning and may exhibit behavior problems.

Parents and caregivers can ensure the good nutrition of their young children by establishing healthy food habits, and offering a wide variety of healthful foods that contain a proper balance of nutrients. Even picky toddlers often enjoy meals that allow them to choose from a variety of nutrient rich foods, and incorporate interesting shapes or colors.

Regardless of how much food gets into children’s mouths, meals together are great times to establish good habits and strengthen family bonds. When parents talk with their children about the food they’re eating or about their days—even if their children can’t yet talk back—young children learn that meal times can be fun and loving experiences that fuel the body and the mind.

Resources for Sharing:

  • Good nutrition for toddlers takes many forms, as explained in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • This article explains the kinds of nutrition that benefit toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Print out these tips for ways to improve your young child’s early nutrition!

LISTEN: This podcast from ZERO TO THREE’s “Little Kids, Big Questions” series explains why nurturing healthy eating habits from the start is important. >>

Posted In: Newsletter