Phosphorus is a crucial nutrient for bone health, which is why we worry about it for kids. It’s also used in our genes and for energy. Luckily, most people in the US get enough phosphorus in their diet without trying too hard.
I don’t often recommend talking about nutrition with kids. It tends to put pressure on them to eat certain foods. That being said, there are certain kids that are going to be naturally curious about what they are eating and may ask about what different foods do in their bodies. They may have been told in school that “eating the rainbow” helps them to get all the nutrients that they need, but they may not understand exactly what that means.
ALL foods provide something to our bodies. Even if that something is just energy. It’s important to keep in mind that food is more than just nutrients and energy, it’s also part of our culture, family, and heritage. Many times foods provide comfort. These things are just as important as the nutrition that the food provides.
While this article will be focusing specifically on different colored foods and what they bring to the table nutritionally, one way to help keep foods off of a pedestal is to talk about the nutrients in all foods. Chocolate, for example, contains magnesium. Many candies may just provide energy and that’s ok! Kids need a lot of energy. Try not to focus on just foods that have traditionally been labeled as “healthy” or “good.”
You were probably told many times to not play with your food as a child, so you may find it very surprising that I am recommending food play to help with picky eating. Sensory play in particular can be incredibly helpful for picky eating. Many picky eaters are hypo-or hyper-sensitive to different sensory experiences, so exploring them during play can help get them more comfortable.
One of the first tips you’ll hear when your child is diagnosed with a food allergy is to get in the habit of always checking food labels for allergens. Companies in the US are required to list their ingredients and so you can get a good idea of what is in a product and whether or not your child’s allergen is present just by checking the food label.
That being said, not every ingredient is required to be on labels. Companies can change their ingredients without notifying consumers. It can be a lot more work than it sounds.
Magnesium is a nutrient that is important for bone health, making it an important nutrient for kids. While true deficiency is rare, many people in the US are not consuming adequate amounts of magnesium. It has become a more popular supplement in recent years, possibly helping with blood pressure, diabetes, and migraines. Most kids will not need a magnesium supplement, but can meet their needs through a diet with lots of variety.
You may have heard the phrase “food before one is just for fun.” It’s a really cute rhyme and has good intentions, but is a bit misleading. While it is true that most of your baby’s nutrition should still be coming from breastmilk or formula until around age 1, there is still a reason we focus a lot on the first foods we introduce to our kids.
This is my go-to method for discreet breastfeeding. It’s called the two shirt method, because it involves two shirts. It allows you to keep most of your body covered. That being said, there is absolutely no reason you NEED to stay covered while breastfeeding. It can just be more comfortable.
Many parents are surprised to find out that there is an association between ADHD and picky eating. It turns out that it is quite common for kids with ADHD to be picky eaters. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. Many of the tips that we recommend for neurotypical kids work well for kids with ADHD as well!
There are very few foods I recommend completely avoiding, however honey before age 1 is one of them. The issue with honey and babies is not nutritional, but safety. Babies are born with an immature immune system that develops over time. There is no magical change that happens at exactly 12 months, but it is around this age where most babies have a mature enough immune system to handle honey safely.