WACO, TX — Dietary guidelines are released every five years by the U.S Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to set standards for school lunches and food distribution programs.
This year, the USDA released guidelines for the first time for infants under the age of 2.
“The breast feeding recommendations have been there for a while, but they’ve gone further than the breast feeding,”said Amy Mersiovsky, Texas A&M Central Texas Director & Chair of the Department of Nursing.
“Babies and toddlers are going to eat what types of foods are available to them, like what their parents or caregivers have access to, so I think the recommendations come from a good place, but there are some considerations to be made on how most people can benefit from those recommendations,”said Kimberly Berry, Adjunct Professor of Sports and Health Psychology at Texas A&M Central Texas.
The guidelines recommend feeding only breast milk for at least six months and no added sugar for children under age 2.
“You have to look at nutrition as a whole, instead of focusing on one small aspect, like sugar,”said Berry.
Carly Lamadrid is a writer for Waco Moms and is also about to have her third child. She knows the challenges of trying to find nutritious meals for picky eaters and says moderation is best.
“They are saying that one and 13 kids have a food allergy now. That’s crazy. We didn’t see that growing up. We didn’t see kids who couldn’t have peanut butter. I think a lot of it has to do with that we do stress out so much and emphasis so much on what our kids are not allowed to eat. I think if we just take a step back, and do things in moderation,”said Carly Lamadrid.
The guidelines also say that parents should introduce potential allergenic foods and regular foods after six months which could help prevent the development of food allergies.
“The earlier you introduce those, the better. So if you start out feeding your child those healthier vegetables and fruits, then they are going to be more likely to eat them,”said Mersiovsky.
“Like today, we did cabbage for the new year. Both of my boys were like ‘I don’t want to eat this.’ And I said, ‘you have to have one bite.’ Took a bite and didn’t like it. Fine. It’s a one bite rule,”said Lamadrid.
While a lot of young kids tend to be picky eaters, Lamadrid has found ways to sneak in some healthy alternatives while still making some tasty foods. You can find a link to some of her meals HERE.