Skip to content

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Healthy Eating for Children - Helping Your Child to Eat Well

Adjusting your approach based on your child's age

Feeding your infant. From birth, infants follow their internal hunger and fullness cues. They eat when they're hungry, and they stop eating when they're full. Experts recommend that newborns be fed on demand.

Feeding your toddler/preschooler. As you introduce your young child to new foods, you are encouraging a love of variety, texture, and taste. This is important, because the more adventurous your child feels about foods, the more balanced and nutritious his or her weekly intake will be. Remember that you may need to present a new or different food a number of times before your child will be comfortable trying it. This is normal. The best approach is to offer the new food in a relaxed manner without pressuring your child.

Feeding your teen. When your child becomes a teen, he or she has a lot more food choices outside the home. You are still responsible for providing balanced meals in the home. Family mealtimes become especially important.

actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits

Children have special vitamin and mineral needs. For example:

  • Infants need a source of iron. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends iron supplementation in breast-fed babies starting at 4 months of age for full-term babies and by 1 month of age for preterm babies. Use iron-fortified formula (for formula-fed babies). And when you start your infant on solid foods, include high-iron infant cereals and/or meat baby foods. Infants may need a daily vitamin D supplement. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of vitamin D are right for your child.
  • Children ages 6 months to 16 years may need a fluoride supplement. Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
  • Girls ages 9 to 18 years need more calcium and may not get enough calcium from the foods they eat.
1|2|3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow