No added sugars for kids under 2, per new guidelines

The U.S. government released its first dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers

No added sugars for kids under 2, per new guidelines

The USDA just released its latest dietary guidelines for Americans this week, including a new section regarding infant and toddler eating habits.

The guidelines recommend feeding only breast milk for at least six months of your child's life and beginning regular vitamin D supplements soon after birth.

If breast milk is unavailable, then families should use iron-fortified formula. Outside of milk or formula, families should steer clear of offering water or other beverages to their babies for the first six months.

Your toddler probably won't like this next part: the guidelines recommend no added sugars for children ages 2 and under. That means no cake or cookies.


The guidelines say that "infants and young children have virtually no room in their diet for added sugars." Children don't eat much at this stage so it's important to make sure that the food they do put into their bodies is healthy.

Babies can start on solids once they turn six months old. Potentially allergenic foods, like peanut butter, can be introduced alongside other foods.

"Introducing peanut-containing foods in the first year reduces the risk that an infant will develop a food allergy to peanuts," according to the guidelines.

The document also offers advice beyond infant and toddler health. There are recommendations for every stage of life.

Pregnant women are encouraged to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of seafood per week. Just make sure the fish has low mercury levels, like salmon or tilapia.

Pregnant women are advised to stay away from alcohol. Caffeine in modest amounts is acceptable.

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Men are advised to drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day. Women should limit themselves to one.

Many of the recommendations are unsurprising: adults are encouraged to eat smaller portions, cut back on sweets and sodium, and load up on fruit and veggies. It's about building healthy dietary patterns into your daily lifestyle. Small changes now can mean a longer, healthy life in the future.

The dietary guidelines are updated every five years by the Agriculture Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. Let's be honest...it will be really hard to keep your child from having any added sugars until they're 2 years old.

When possible, try limiting those cookies, candies, and sweet treats. Every little bit will help.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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