Nutrition & Health
The Crucial Brain Foods all Children Need
The first 1,000 days of life are crucial for brain development — and food plays an important role. The ways that the brain develops during pregnancy and during the first two years of life are like scaffolding: they literally define how the brain will work for the rest of a person’s life.... Learn more from Harvard Health and Dr. Claire McCarthy at Harvard Medical School.
For women who are or might become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and young children:
Which fish can you eat during pregnancy?
This printable chart from the FDA has more information on which fish – and how many servings per week – you should eat during pregnancy.
FDA and EPA have issued advice regarding eating fish that can help women who are pregnant or may become pregnant - as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents and caregivers feeding children 2 years and older - make informed choices when it comes to fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. For advice about feeding children under 2 years of age, you can consult the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The advice features a chart that makes it easier than ever to choose dozens of healthy and safe options and includes information about the nutritional value of fish. A set of frequently asked questions & answers provides more information on how to use the chart and additional tips for eating fish.
Babies and toddlers need foods from all five healthy food groups: vegetables, fruit, grain foods, dairy and protein.
Healthy foods have nutrients that are important for growth, development and learning.
Your child should avoid foods high in salt, saturated fat and sugar, foods low in fibre and nutrients, and drinks with caffeine and lots of sugar.
Health and wellness habits begin at birth. If you have specific questions about your child’s health and nutrition, we encourage you to discuss them with your health care provider.
What is healthy food for babies and toddlers?
Healthy food for babies and toddlers includes a wide variety of fresh foods from the five healthy food groups:
Each food group has different nutrients, which your child’s body needs to grow and work properly. That’s why we need to eat a range of foods from across all five food groups.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegies give your child energy, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fibre and water. They help protect your baby against diseases later in life, including diseases like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
It’s a good idea to offer your baby fruit and vegetables at every meal and for snacks. Try to choose fruit and vegies of different colours, textures and tastes, both fresh and cooked.
Wash fruit to remove dirt or chemicals, and leave the skin on, because the skin contains nutrients too.
Grain foods include bread, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereals, couscous, rice, corn, quinoa, polenta, oats and barley. These foods give your child the energy she needs to grow, develop and learn.
Grain foods with a low glycaemic index, like wholegrain pasta and breads, will give your child longer-lasting energy and keep him feeling fuller for longer.
Key dairy foods are milk, cheese and yoghurt. These foods are high in protein and calcium.
Dairy foods can be introduced from around six months of age. But make sure that breastmilk or infant formula is your baby’s main drink until around 12 months of age. After that, she can start drinking full-fat cow’s milk.
Because children in this age group are growing so quickly and need lots of energy, they need full-fat dairy products until they turn two.
Protein-rich foods include lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and nuts. These foods are important for your child’s growth and muscle development.
Expansive Toddler Nutrition Guide
(HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
This website brings together existing information and practical strategies on feeding healthy foods and drinks to infants and toddlers, from birth to 24 months of age. Parents and caregivers can explore these pages to find nutrition information to help give their children a healthy start in life.
Food for the Toddler Years
(Ohio State University Extension)
Provides tips and suggestions to help parents make appropriate and healthy choices for children ages 2 to 4 years of age.
Feeding and Nutrition
(American Academy of Pediatrics)
Toddler 1-3 Years: Nutrition
American Academy of Pediatrics.
Find toddler nutrition resources that cover topics such as dietary fat, dietary supplements, snacks, self-feeding, serving sizes, and unsafe foods.
Vegetarian Nutrition for Toddlers and Preschoolers ( pdf | 470 KB )
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vegetarian Nutrition Practice Group.
Provides information on a well-balanced vegetarian diet that supports the normal growth and development of toddlers and preschoolers.