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CDC Launches Website on Infant and Toddler Nutrition

Good nutrition during the first 2 years of life is vital for healthy growth and development. Children grow and develop every day. As they grow older, their nutrition needs change. Children with healthier eating patterns in their first year of life are more likely to have a healthier eating pattern later on. Yet too many children are not eating a healthy diet.

Among U.S. children between 1 to 2 years of age:

  • 15% are iron deficient,
  • Fewer than half ate a vegetable on a given day, and
  • More than 3 out of 10 children drank a sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day.

Credible information about infant and toddler nutrition is important for parents and caregivers. CDC is providing parents of young children with this nutrition information to help infants and toddlers get a healthy start in life.

CDC is releasing a website that brings together existing information and practical strategies on developing healthy eating patterns for infants and toddlers, from birth to 24 months of age.

Topics include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Formula feeding
  • Essential vitamins & minerals
  • Introduction of solid foods
  • Foods and drinks to encourage
  • Tips on mealtime routines, …and more!

Tips to Get Calcium Beyond Milk

Food Festival 3x

Mom always told you to drink your milk, but did you listen? Although it’s one of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of calcium, not everyone can stomach dairy. Still, we all need calcium for strong, healthy bones, teeth and muscles. If milk isn’t your child’s thing, but you don’t want them to come up short, consider these additional sources of calcium:

Canned seafood

One 3-ounce can of pink, canned salmon solids with bone gives your child 181 mg of calcium. Sardines are another great source of calcium; one can delivers 351 mg. Try mixing them into a salad if your child is worried worried about the taste.

Fortified drinks

Consider calcium-fortified soy milk, almond milk, rice milk or orange or cranberry juice. Check for labels on canned frozen juices to ensure they’re “calcium-fortified.” Just 6 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice provides 261 mg of calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health. One 8-ounce glass of fortified soy milk yields 299 mg of calcium. (Budget-conscious shoppers: Pass on the organic or freshly squeezed juices, which don’t always provide extra calcium.)

Beans

Black-eyed peas pack a particularly hefty dose of calcium; just 1 cup weighs in at 183 mg. Baked beans are also high in calcium.  Soak beans in water for several hours and cook them in fresh water to reduce a naturally occurring substance known as phytate, which can interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Vegetables

Collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and broccoli are all excellent sources of calcium. For example, a half cup of fresh, boiled turnip greens delivers 99 mg of calcium, and 1 cup of raw, chopped kale packs 100 mg.

Nuts and seeds

A single cup of plain almonds delivers 243 mg of calcium, 1 cup of walnuts provides 78 mg. Hazelnuts are even better, with 1 cup packing 154 mg of calcium. Brazil nuts, found in most grocery stores, provide 213 mg per cup. Add flaxseeds or sunflower seeds to a green leafy salad for even more calcium. If your child is a peanut butter person, consider alternatives such as almond butter, cashew butter or pumpkin seed butter for a boost in calcium with less sodium.

Oatmeal and cereal

Breakfast cereals and hot instant oatmeal offer an easy way to stuff calcium into your child’s diet. Just be sure to grab a low-sugar brand or the old-fashioned rolled oats, which typically have less sugar than some instant packets. One cup of ready-to-eat cereal, meanwhile, can provide anywhere from 100 to 1,000 mg of calcium depending on the brand.

Healthier Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a comforting treat to help warm you up during the chilly winter months. But it may be loaded with sugar, fat and calories.

The American Heart Association offers these lighter suggestions:

  • Skip the whipped cream and ask the restaurant to make the hot chocolate with low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • If making it at home, shop for packets that are labeled low in sugar or fat, and mix with skim milk or hot water.
  • Watch your toppings. Skip large marshmallows and sprinkle on just five to eight mini marshmallows. If you really want whipped cream, opt for a low-fat version, adding less than a tablespoon.