Fortified cereals are an important early food that parents rely on to support healthy growth and development in their infants and toddlers. Learn how formulating with the right nutrients can provide the best nutrition support and help your product stand out from the crowd.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends that complementary foods should be introduced at about 6 months of age. Ideally, these so-called first foods should have mild flavors and be easy to swallow and digest (like fruit and vegetable purees and instant cereals). Introducing foods individually can help ensure there are no allergies to the new foods before moving on to combination foods. First foods must also provide the appropriate nutrients to support this stage of development.
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Recommended Foods for Infants and Toddlers
Since infants and toddlers consume such small amounts of foods, the Dietary Guidelines recommends making every bite count by aiming for nutrient-dense food choices. These should include foods from all the food groups. Protein foods include meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products and contribute iron, zinc, choline, omega-3s, and omega-6s, in addition to protein. Fruits and vegetables are also important, especially those rich in potassium and vitamins A and C.
The dairy group provides a good source of calcium and vitamin D. While yogurt and cheese can be introduced before twelve months, milk should not be used as a replacement for breastmilk or infant formula. After twenty-four months, milk or fortified soy milk can be added. For grains, iron-fortified infant cereal is recommended to help meet nutrient needs, with a preference for whole grains over refined grains.