Generally, it is okay to introduce cow's milk around 12 months. The best nourishment for a baby in its first year is breast milk if possible, or formula if breast milk isn't possible. The proteins within cow's milk can be challenging for an infant's digestive tract. Once the baby starts cow's milk, full fat (whole) milk is best. However, at around age 2, it is usually fine to transition to a lower fat milk.
Fruit juice is not necessary for a child's health, and in fact, it should be monitored and limited. Fruit juice can add unnecessary sugars and calories to a child's diet. Parents should limit juice intake to 100 percent pasteurized juice, a maximum of 4 ounces in a single day, until the child is around 6. After that, juice intake should not exceed 12 ounces in a single day. Parents of toddlers can "cut" the juice with water to reduce the number of empty calories the child is taking in.
Snacks are fine for children, but they must be monitored. Regular healthy snacks may prevent children from eating too much at meals. Snacks should combine protein, fat, and carbs if the next meal is at least several hours away. This can include things like crackers with turkey and cheese slices or milk and toast.
If a child is overweight, the first thing that a parent should do is schedule an appointment with their pediatrician. The doctor can help parents create a healthy plan for their child, one that won't make the child feel that they are starving or hungry all the time. Increasing exercise and making some other recommended lifestyle changes can help, too. Addressing excess weight during childhood can prevent the child from becoming an overweight or obese adult.
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