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Food Wisdom...From My Baby

April 5, 2012 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Three months; enough time for a season, a financial quarter or a milestone in infant development.

Our son recently passed the three month mark. How time flies! Those crazy sleep deprived early weeks spent in survival mode are already beginning to fade into a fuzzy memory. I’m feeling more up to the task of fathering now. Occasionally, I even have the presence of mind to reflect on what this little boy is teaching me.

Even though it will be some time before he’s able to speak, I can see that he’s already ‘wise’ in the way of food. (Though, admittedly his food world is pretty small and focused at his age). His perspective on eating is uncomplicated. I’m envious because as an adult, a dietitian and a food lover, I find the world to be awash in sometimes conflicting messages about what’s really important with regard to how and what we should eat.

As he feeds I look into his eyes and his focus turns to me. From my perspective I interpret his gaze as telling me “Daddy, all I need is enough good food that is right for me when I’m hungry”. When his needs are met he is satisfied. When his food is provided with love and care he feels secure and happy. If we’re lucky we may even get a precious smile out of him.

I find myself wondering what all of us adults, who occasionally get confused about what we should be eating, could learn from babies.

Here are a few of my insights:

  • Babies focus on the basics of healthy eating. Having only one food group sure helps, but it’s an important lesson nonetheless. Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out the food guide or speak with a Registered Dietitian at 8-1-1 for some simple advice backed up by nutritional science.
  • Babies have no interest in fad diets, the latest super food, nutritional controversies or food marketing gimmicks. In my opinion, we could relieve a lot of nutritional confusion by following their lead and sticking to the basics.
  • Babies follow their hunger cues. They can raise an awfully big fuss when hungry, but tend not to eat more than they need to feel satisfied.

What food and nutritional ‘wisdom’ have you learned from your baby?

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