Give your family a jump-start on good nutrition by introducing your children to a nourishing, whole-food diet at a young age. Teaching them to prefer the taste of real foods lays the foundation for lifelong healthy eating habits. Follow these tips to ensure your child consumes high-quality, healthful ingredients.

GetAttachment.aspxFirst bites are a big milestone in a baby’s life. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends starting solid food around six months. After introducing your child to single-grain, iron-fortified cereal, you can experiment with different vegetable and fruit purees, tailoring each meal to your child’s preference and needs. To make your own purees, invest in a quality blender such as the Vitamix Total Nutrition Center, which easily blends whole-food ingredients to a silky smooth texture and offers a convenient way to create hearty, nutritious meals.

There are no strict rules about introducing a fruit or vegetable first. Some choose to introduce fruits first because the sweet taste mirrors breast milk, while others like to start with vegetables, so the child will be more likely to accept the taste. Whichever you choose, remember to only introduce one new food every three to four days, as this will help you determine whether your child has a reaction to a certain ingredient.

As your little one grows, continuing good eating habits can be tricky. Toddler years are a time of transition and independence, when they learn to eat table food and experiment with a variety of tastes and textures. Kids are also notoriously fussy during this time and may reject some of the most nutritious foods. Serving your children homemade fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to fit several servings of healthy produce into their diets. You can also blend whole meals such as cooked chicken and rice, so your toddler can eat the same foods as you. Keep in mind the spice levels so as not to upset your child’s stomach.

Making your own baby and toddler food offers many benefits. It allows you to know exactly what you’re feeding your little ones, increases the nutritional value and freshness of foods, and eliminates additives—all with a lower overall cost.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.