How children eat early can have an impact on how they eat later in life. It is important to start introducing healthy foods to your children from the beginning.

Which foods should I introduce to my child first?

Introduce foods and drinks to children as soon as they are six months old. You don’t have to introduce food in a particular order for most children.

Children can start eating a wide variety of foods by the age of 7 or 8. To grow strong and healthy, your child will need a wide variety of vitamins.

You can make a rainbow of colored food for your child’s dinner.

You can make a rainbow of colors for your child’s plates. Here are some examples:

  • Fruits: bananas, strawberries, pears, oranges, melons, or avocados
  • Vegetables Cooked spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes or beets
  • Whole grains: whole-grain breads, crackers, or pastas
  • Meats small, soft pieces of beef, lamb or chicken, fish, and turkey
  • Cheese: Yogurts or Cheeses (pasteurized only).

Drinks are also important!

You can offer the following:

  • Water (up to 6 ounces per person)
  • Breastmilk (if still breastfeeding) or Infant Formula

You can start offering fortified cow’s milk to your child once he or she is 12 months of age.

Avoid these foods

Children under 12 months old should not be given certain food and drinks. Avoid the following foods and drinks:

  • Honey. This could lead to serious food poisoning in children younger than 12 months. 
  • Foods and drinks that have not been processed are unsafe. These foods and drinks could put your child at high risk of contracting E. E.coli are, a dangerous bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea. Unpasteurized foods are raw milk, juices, yogurts, and cheeses.
  • Fortified cow’s milk Children under 12 months may be at increased risk of intestinal bleeding.
  • Fruit juices and other sugary drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children avoid 100% juice and juice drinks with added sugars before the age of 12 months.

Role model for your children! Your children will be able to see you as a role model by eating a healthy diet.

Play the role of a role model

Children will eat more of the same foods as you once they are 12 months old. Setting a good example for your child by eating a healthy diet.

Children and adults should limit high sodium and added sweets.

Healthy eating habits can help children grow and develop well. A healthy diet can protect adults from a variety of costly and serious chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Healthy eating habits include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat and fat-free dairy. My Plate external Icon will help you select healthy foods and beverages that are right for you and your family.