If you're lucky and shrewd, you can probably hide the very existence of certain foods from your 1-year-old. Of course, you risk recrimination when your child reaches 4, discovers Twinkies, and realizes you've been holding out on him. But in the meantime you'll have established some healthy eating habits that may endure for years to come.
Just how bad is junk food for a 1-year-old? And what is-and isn't-junk food? Telling real junk food from healthy food is not always easy. Many foods that get a bad rap are really not so terriblefor your child. A slice of cheese or vegetable pizza, for instance, with some fruit and milk, makes a great lunch for a 1-year-old.
On the other hand, you do want to watch out when selecting convenience foods and avoid those that contain substantial amounts of chemical additives, salt, and fat . You might also think that any beverage labeled with the word fruit is good for your child, but so-called fruit drinks are mostly water and sugar. Sticking with fruit juices is a healthier option.
Some sugary snacks that you might avoid for the sake of your child's teeth don't really remain on the teeth long enough to be of serious concern. The worst dental offenders are foods that stick on the teeth for a long time. Some candies do this, to be sure, but so do many otherwise healthy choices, like raisins and crackers. A good solution? A combination of judicious choices and thorough, regular brushing.
Making a big deal out of the occasional sweet treat or salty snack is probably self-defeating. Even a 1-year-old is quick to pick up on which snacks are contraband, and these may gain a certain glamour in her eyes. If you decide to allow your child to eat sweets from time to time, try to be matter-of-fact about them, rather than emphasizing that they are unusual or special.
Remember, too, that a number of adult foods present a potential choking hazard. Among the most hazardous are peanuts, raisins, grapes, hard candies, slices or bites of hot dog, raw carrots, and popcorn. And never let your child run around while eating.
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