Tips for feeding your infant - Dallas News |

FOX 5 Medical Team

Tips for feeding your infant

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It's a question a lot of parents ask themselves: Is my baby getting enough to eat, and eating the right foods?

Monica Griffin, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta took us shopping at the Toco Hills Kroger. Griffin says when you're shopping for babies and toddlers, think outside the box.

She explains, "What you want to remember is that just because it's a baby, it doesn't mean you're limited to the baby food aisle. There are plenty of healthy finger foods that are located in the rest of the supermarket."

Griffin suggests looking for toasted oat cereals, bananas and other fruits you can cut up, and even frozen peas you can thaw out and serve your toddler. She says, "when you're baby is first learning to use finger foods, you can actually cook the peas and then if you smash them with your fingers, they're very easy for the baby to pick up."

And she says most babies love the taste.

Griffin says when you're buying baby food, read the ingredient label. Steer clear of products that have added fillers, like sugars, starches and flours. Fillers are empty calories that won't help you baby grow. For that, Griffin says, baby food - needs to be "real" food. She says look for ingredients like, "vegetables, fruit, meats and whole grains."

For example, if you have to choose between a jar of ground turkey in turkey broth or ground turkey in corn starch, the turkey in broth is a healthier choice.

For toddlers, a lot of parents rely on pre-packaged meals because they're so convenient. Griffin says they're also sometimes very high in salt. She says, "I'm a parent, I know we're busy, we're short on time. So if you're going to get one of these convenience meals because you're in a pinch, you want to make sure you're checking the sodium, or the salt. Because that's something that we want to limit for babies."

Another "baby" food to skip? Juice. Yes, toddlers love it. But don't be drawn in by the "100% juice" label. Griffin says, "Even 100% juice is actually loaded with sugar. Every ounce of juice provides about a teaspoon of sugar." Because of that high sugar-content, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents not to give juice to children under the age of one. Instead, Griffin says babies should be drinking either breast milk or formula or plain water. For toddlers, she recommends putting water in their "sippy" cup instead of juice.

If you child really loves juice, try slicing up some fresh fruit into bite-size portions. Your toddler will love the taste. And, Griffin says, you can feel good about all the fiber and nutrients your child is getting that can't be found in a bottle of juice.

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