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New baby + toddler feeding guidelines say no added sugar is best

The average infant eats a teaspoon a day.

guidelines on feeding babies

With so many foods being marketed to parents of babies, it can be hard to figure out what really is appropriate baby food.

That's why the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (which makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture) released its first-ever guidelines for infants and toddlers this week.

The big takeaway: No added sugar is best for little brains.


As CNN reports, apples, bananas and even breastmilk all have natural sugars in them, sugars that are good for babies' development. That's not what the committee is worried about. It is talking about added sugars in products like juices (which babies should not drink) and processed foods.

"Nutritional exposures during the first 1,000 days of life not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices," the report states, adding that parents need to avoid foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life," because adding sugars so early can be detrimental to a child's short and long-term health.

"The energy in such products is likely to displace energy from nutrient-dense foods, increasing the risk of nutrient inadequacies," the committee explains, urging parents to serve less sugar.

Research suggests that the average infant consumes a teaspoon of added sugar a day, and toddlers eat about six times as much added sugar.

According to the committee, these "early life nutritional exposures have emerged as an etiological risk factor associated with later-life chronic disease risk."

Parents often don't realize sugar might be served up, but it can sneak into our diets in foods like yogurt and cereal. It can also sneak into the rest of the family's diet.

The committee says about 70% "of added sugars intake comes from five food categories: sweetened beverages, desserts and sweet snacks, coffee and tea (with their additions), candy and sugars, and breakfast cereals and bars."

Bottom line: Babies don't need juice and cookies, and while a sweet coffee is fine for mama once in a while, we all ought to cut back on the refined sugars.

Here are some of our favorite products to make feeding babies and toddlers a little easier:

Yumi Starting Solids kit

Yumi starting solids kit

Leave menu making to the pros. Designed by nutritionists and pediatricians to be rich in nutrients and to support every critical stage during a little one's first 1,000 days, the Intro to Solids Kit from Yumi delivers 16 fresh, no sugar added organic meals directly to your door. They also provide a 15 minute consultation with a registered nutrition coach to answer any of your feeding questions!

$65

EKOBO bamboo baby feeding set

EKOBO bamboo baby feeding set

Minimalist and sustainable, we love this simple feeding set that comes with a pint-sized sippy cup, ergonomic spoon and bowl with non-slip base.

$22

Mary Meyer decco pup bib set

Mary Meyer decco pup bib set

Babies can manage to have sweet potatoes up to their hairline and still look adorable. But corralling the mess is a fine idea as well. These kerchief style bibs are great for mealtime but also the perfect drool catching teething accessory.

$18

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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