Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

What your child eats is important for his or her health. Follow the nutrition guidelines below:

Birth to 2 Years Old

  • Breast milk is the best single food for infants from birth to 6 months of age. It provides good nutrition and protects against infection. Breast-feeding should be continued for at least the 1st year, if possible. If breast-feeding is not possible or not desired, iron-enriched formula (not cow's milk) should be used during the 1st 12 months of life. Whole cow's milk can be used to replace formula or breast milk after 12 months of age.
  • Breast-fed babies, particularly if dark skinned, who do not get regular exposure to sunlight may need to receive vitamin D supplements.
  • Begin suitable solid foods at 4-6 months of age. Most experts recommend iron-enriched infant rice cereal as the 1st food.
  • Start new foods 1 at a time to make it easier to identify problem foods. For example, wait 1 week before adding each new cereal, vegetable, or other food.
  • Use iron-rich foods, such as grains, iron-enriched cereals, and meats.
  • Do not give honey to infants during the 1st 12 months of life.
  • Do not limit fat during the 1st 2 years of life.

Two Years & Older

  • Provide a variety of foods, including plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Use salt (sodium) and sugars in moderation.
  • Encourage a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
  • Help your child maintain a healthy weight by providing proper foods and encouraging regular exercise.