Wondering how to help your little one establish healthy food choices for life?

Leading pre and postnatal dietitian, Melanie McGrice, discusses her key tips.

1. Start good habits early – don’t want your kids eating in front of the television? Dream of your family sharing dinners together? Now is the time to start.

2. Offer healthy foods and let your bub determine the amount – were you made to sit at the table until you’d finished every last bite?

Babies appetites fluctuate substantially based on their growth spurts. Help your bub to maintain a healthy weight by providing nutritious meals then allowing them to determine their portion sizes based on their own appetite cues.

3. Pack a bag – babies and toddlers need to snack regularly. It’s easy to head out the door only to discover that your little one is hungry AGAIN and the healthiest options available are sugar-filled muffins from the local café.

Always be prepared by keeping long-life nutritious snacks such as rusks, sultanas and/or baby food pouches such as Little Étoile Organic in your baby bag.

Melanie recommends parents pack a snack in their bag as little ones need to eat regularly.

4. Always read the label – many foods contain additives and preservatives and some children can be sensitive to certain compounds. Try to limit your baby’s intake of these where possible.

5. Consider organic – organic foods tend to contain less pesticides than conventionally-farmed produce. Although the impact of these pesticides depends on the types and amounts found in the food, emerging evidence suggests that they may have a negative impact on some baby’s health and development, so consider organic produce and Certified Organic baby food products.

6. Limit salt – high intakes of salt can be harmful to baby’s immature kidneys. Look for salt less than 120 milligrams of sodium in the per 100 grams column of the nutritional panel.

Try to limit the amount of additives and preservatives in the food you are giving to bub.

7. Make a daily schedule – planning a ‘feed, play and sleep’ routine for your baby will ensure that your little one receives a variety of nutritious foods to optimise growth and development.

8. Create a meal plan – after a busy day caring for your little star it can be challenging to come up with nutritious dinner ideas – and tempting just to order in. Design a family meal plan that will ensure that your baby will receive the variety of nutrients needed for optimal health.

9. Avoid foods containing heavy metals – High heavy metal exposure in babies and children can have impacts on their health and development, building up over time and potentially causing health conditions later in life.

Where possible, look for products which have undergone independent heavy metal testing like Little Étoile Organic baby food pouches. Every single finished batch of Little Étoile Organic is voluntarily tested to ensure that the strictest standards available for heavy metals including Lead, Arsenic, Mercury and Cadmium are met.

10. See a dietitian – need more help? Make an appointment to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian to help optimise the health of your little one. The earlier that you get into good habits, the easier it will be later on!