Are our babies eating healthy enough?
Many of our young children aren’t eating what they should. Recent research has shown by nine months of age, more than half of kiwi babies had tried foods high in sugar or salt such as sweets, chocolate and chips and only a third of Kiwi infants are having the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables.
The report’s findings from the University of Auckland’s ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’ longitudinal study, have revealed that some food and nutrition guidelines for infants are being followed more strongly than others. The research is based on data gathered from almost 6,500 families.
The statistic that more than half of nine month olds had tried foods such as sweets, chocolate and chips is concerning because as one of report’s author’s Dr Sarah Gerritsen stresses ‘they can add excess energy and influence ongoing taste preferences for foods and drinks that are high in sugar, salt and fat’. Diet’s high in these types of food can affect a child’s weight, their dental health and their ability to thrive, learn and grow.
But it’s not all doom & gloom, the report did have some positive findings. It showed that most parents aren't adding sugar (86%) or salt(84%) to baby's meals, 94% of babies are eating 3 or more solid meals a day by nine months and more importantly 80% are eating iron-rich meals daily.
This is great news as babies need lots of iron to carry oxygen to every part of their body to support their rapid growth. Iron also ensures they develop physically, is essential for their brain development and their ability to learn, and helps them fight infections. Of course lean beef and lamb is a great source or iron.
We’ve selected a few of our favourites below. Click on the pictures to get the recipes.