Forbidden Baby & Toddler Foods
Avoid: Whole Hot Dogs
Smart Solution: The University of Michigan Health System suggests buying safer nitrite- and nitrate-free hot dogs and cutting them into noodle-like strips.
Avoid: Large Chunks of Meat, Cheese, or Fruit
Smart Solution: With a little more preparation time, meat, cheese, or fruit can be fine for children to munch on. Cut meat into pieces no larger than the length of your fingertips. Cheese can be sliced into the same size or shredded. For fruit, serve well-cooked apple or chunks of very ripe pear.
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Avoid: Whole Grapes
Smart Solution: Babies can eat thinly sliced grapes (not just cut in half). Or take an extra precaution and puree fruits before mealtime.
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Avoid: Hard, Gooey, or Sticky Candy
Smart Solution: Candy is too small and slippery for your little one, but KidsHealth.org recommends trying French toast without the egg white as a healthier sweet snack.
Avoid: Globs of Peanut Butter
Smart Solution: Sticky peanut butter is especially dangerous for children younger than 2. The Mayo Clinic's tip for satisfying a toddler's sweet tooth is to give your child fat-free pudding instead.
Smart Solution: For a dry food that isn't as tough for babies and toddlers to chew, KidsHealth.org suggests a 1/2 cup of low-sugar breakfast cereal as an easy alternative.
Avoid: Raw Vegetables
Smart Solution: While babies are learning to chew or gum their food, skip crunchy raw vegetables and give them soft-cooked peas, beans, and carrots.
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