Food Before One is Just for Fun: A Common Pediatric Nutrition Myth (2023)

Originally published: Oct 2nd/2018; Updated: June 4th/2019

Food Before One is Just for Fun?

Have you heard the old saying “food before one is just for fun?” And have you wondered if it’s true? Well it’s not exactly true. Of course, eating should always be fun and pleasant.

But saying that food before one is JUST for fun is not exactly accurate…

Before one, baby is learning to eat: it should be fun… but it’s more than just for fun!

Why do we progress from milk to solid foods?

Why does the whole “food before one is just for fun” misconception exist? One reason is that, milk provides most of baby’s calories and nutrients during the first year. This includes breastmilk and/or formula.

The notion that food before one is just for fun, is not only dated… it’s wrong.

(Video) 16 Popular Nutrition Myths Busted

At around 6 months of age when baby is ready, it’s important to introduce solid food. Eating solid food helps meet your baby’s nutritional needs even if milk is a major component.

The nutrients from food and the act of eating itself help baby’s physical and mental development. Not to mention the social and psychological aspects of eating with the family. The introduction of solids helps establish family dynamics including the household food environment.

Transitioning to solid foods

A few quick and easy signs that your baby is ready:

  • Able to hold his/her head,
  • Sits upright with minimal help
  • Can turn their head side to side?

When your baby is ready, choose the feeding methodthat works for your family.

There’s traditional feeding, baby-led weaning,or an hybrid of both. Enjoy the milestone as you embark on the solid food adventure!

You don’t HAVE to do baby-led weaning, and you don’t HAVE to go the traditional route.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods (more on this here). You may have heard good and bad things from both methods.

What is most important is that the method you choose feels right for you, baby and the whole family. A non-stressed parent is always key in establishing a positive feeding environment. This is more important than the method you choose.

Food before one is not just for fun. Milk will continue to have an important place in your baby’s diet, but solid foods are offering multiple advantages beyond nutrition.

Food Before One is Just for Fun: A Common Pediatric Nutrition Myth (1)

Food before one is just for fun? No, baby needs iron around 6 months of age

When baby is ready to start solid food, offeriron-rich foodat least 2 times a day. This is a great example of why we don’t favour the “food before one is just for one” idea.

(Video) How to Create a Healthy Plate

The iron store that baby built up during pregnancy lasts for about 6 months. On top of that, breast milk and formula milk do not provide enough iron to meet baby’s needs. So, when baby turns 6 months old, offering iron-rich foods is important!

In fact, offering iron-rich foods first is a priority. Why? Well at this age baby has a small stomach, and an appetite that matches.

Otherwise, there is no order to introduce the food. There is also no need to wait 3 days before introducing new food.

The exception, of course, are the major allergens. With food allergen introduction, you want to pinpoint foods causing an allergic reaction. Waiting before introducing each allergen will help you identify the culprits.

Subscribe to get your free list of iron-rich foods, including vegetarian options

Food Before One is Just for Fun: A Common Pediatric Nutrition Myth (2)

Iron rich foods should be the first food introduced to baby around 6 months of age.

Baby needs to practice some key moves

Food is a good “excuse” to get baby to practice some moves! Eating requires many actions and developmental milestones that baby will need to learn. It is not gonna happen overnight, so time to start practicing.

The important eating actions and milestones include:

  • Holding utensils,
  • Drinking from an open cup,
  • Grabbing food items with the appropriate force,
  • Bringing food to the mouth,
  • Closing the lips and forming a food bolus, etc.

Remember, your baby is learning to eat. It takes time and practice! So, give baby plenty of occasions to explore, play, experiment with the food and eat. With time, baby will also lose his/her gagging reflex. But, the choking risk will always remain with food or toys.

Make sure you know the differences between gagging and choking, and what to do in both situations.

Subscribe to access this handy cheat sheet contrasting choking and gagging.

Food Before One is Just for Fun: A Common Pediatric Nutrition Myth (3)

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Baby is learning to eat: holding utensils, grabbing and bringing food to the mouth, chewing and swallowing.

Baby learns to respect his/her appetite

Your baby has always learned to respect his/her appetite when drinking milk, but now it is different!

Eating solid food is a whole different ball game. Your baby must now learn to respect their appetite in a context of food abundance.

New intriguing foods, different colours, textures, and flavours… all very tempting! If there was truth in “food before one is just for fun” it would apply to the sensory aspect of eating.

You’re facing a different set of challenges. As parents you need to guide your baby to respect his/her cues of hunger and fullness.

More delicious food to eat, and baby needs to learn to honour his/her signs of hunger and fullness.

Baby needs to discover textures and flavours

Solid food also offers the advantage of coming in all sorts of shapes, textures, mouth feels. Plus there are so many different tastes adn flavours!

Although baby has been tasting flavours in the womb, the learning still continues.

You’ll notice rather early that your baby will have preferences for certain foods. Offering novel foods helps baby explore. But, it’s important to keep offering disliked foods too.

Parents must offer food without pressure, and allow baby to decide whether to eat or not.

Offering food of all shapes, sizes and flavours. It will help your baby develop taste and preferences!

(Video) [Nutrition Facts] 5 Nutrition Myths You Need To Stop Believing

Exposing your baby to food allergens

Introduce food allergens as early as 6 months, based on recommendations in Canada and the US.

Delaying the introduction doesn’t present any benefit. Instead, introducing food allergens early in life may help prevent them. While this is generally true, if you have any concerns, follow the advice of your doctor or dietitian.

Refresh yourself on the signs of an allergic reaction and the best ways to avoid choking risks.

Subscribe and get your guide of the most common allergens and how to introduce them safely to baby

Food Before One is Just for Fun: A Common Pediatric Nutrition Myth (4)

Introducing allergens early in life might help prevent allergies.

Baby needs to observe and imitate parents

The ultimate goal is to teach your child to eat like the rest of the family by 1 year old. To do so, baby needs to practice and practice again. Also, your baby needs to observe YOU eating the same food!

Baby will pick up on the way you:

  • Drink from your glass,
  • Hold your fork,
  • Use your knife,
  • The way you might try a bite of new food,
  • How you handle food you may not like it,
  • The way you might get yourself a second serving because you enjoy certain foods.

Over time, baby will notice that you don’t throw your food on the floor when you don’t like it or because you’re done eating.

The point is not to only sit and feed your child, but to come together as a family (even if it’s once a day!) and eat together.

Eating as a family is important for your child to learn the expected behaviours during meals.

Parents are establishing the feeding environment and food rules

And beyond baby learning all this, parents are also finding their way! You are establishing the new family dynamic with your child at the table.

It’s worth discussing the key rules with your partner and caregivers/family members you want to “enforce” in your house.

(Video) Nutrition Myth Busting Breaking Down the Most Common Misconceptions around Nutrition

So with all this, is food before one just for fun? Well part of it should be true.

We prefer the modified: food before one is just for fun, drop some food rules for the whole family and make sure to enjoy!

Food is fun! Eating is fun! Not just for baby. Not just before 1!


Is food before one is just for fun true? ›

Why does the whole “food before one is just for fun” misconception exist? One reason is that, milk provides most of baby's calories and nutrients during the first year. This includes breastmilk and/or formula. The notion that food before one is just for fun, is not only dated… it's wrong.

Does a baby need food before 1? ›

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended.

How many times does a child have to try a food before they like it? ›

Try again: Wait a couple of days before offering the food again. It can take more than 10 times before you toddler might like it. Mix it up: Mix new foods with foods you know your child likes.

What is the myth food before one just for fun? ›

If you belong to any parenting groups or follow any parenting blogs online, there is a good chance you've heard the phrase “food before one is just for fun.” Proponents of this idea typically believe that breast milk or formula can and should meet all of a child's feeding needs during the first year of life.

What happens if babies have milk before 1? ›

Before your child is 12 months old, cow's milk may put him or her at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your baby's kidneys to handle and does not have the right amount of nutrients your baby needs.

What can babies drink before 1? ›

Breast milk is the only food or drink babies need in the first 6 months of their life. It should continue to be given alongside an increasingly varied diet once you introduce solid foods from around 6 months.

Can I give my 1 month old stage 1 baby food? ›

Babies need only breast milk or formula for the first 4 months of life. Avoid giving your infant juice or food (including cereal) until at least 4 months of age (unless your doctor recommends it).

How many times do you have to introduce a new food to a person toddler before they are willing to try it or like it? ›

It can take between 10 to 15 exposures to get a child to like a new food. It is easier to get a child to taste a new food, rather than eat it. So start by offering small portions. Using rewards such as stickers may improve your kid's acceptance of new foods and make repeated exposures more fun.

How many attempts may take before a child may decide to taste a food or decide if he likes or dislikes it? ›

Try over and over again. The reason: Research says it takes eight to 15 times to introduce a new food before your child will accept it. Yet parents typically offer a food three to five times before deciding their child is never going to like it.

How many times do you try a food on a baby? ›

"Much like starting infant cereal as a first food, the recommendation to start new foods every three to five days is based on tradition verses medical evidence," say dietitian authors Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson, of Born To Eat: Whole, Healthy Foods from Baby's First Bite.

What's the oddest thing you eat? ›

10 weirdest foods from around the world
  • Balut. Balut is a duck embryo, aged about two-to-three weeks. ...
  • Rocky Mountain Oysters. Oysters? ...
  • Durian. ...
  • Roadkill. ...
  • Carnivore Feast. ...
  • Sheep Brains. ...
  • Fugu. ...
  • Fried Tarantulas.

Does it matter what you eat the day before a game? ›

Night Before the Game: Carb-load and Avoid New Foods

Starchy foods like pasta, rice and potatoes offer a carbohydrate-rich meal that will provide the right fuel for the next day's event. Sentongo recommends avoiding new foods that might upset your stomach during the game.

What food is best before a game? ›

1 hour Pre Game
  • Be sure to have snack high in carbohydrate.
  • Avoid foods that are high in protein or fat (they take a while to digest and may upset your stomach)
  • Drink another 8-10 oz of water.
  • Ideas for snacks:
  • Peanut butter sandwich.
  • Pretzels or crackers.
  • Fruit.
  • Granola bar.

Can I give my 4 month old 1% milk? ›

Do not give your baby 1% (low-fat) or nonfat (skimmed) milk before their second birthday, as it does not contain enough fat for brain development. After two years of age, you should discuss your child's nutritional needs with your pediatrician.

Is it OK to give my 1 year old lactose free milk? ›

If you are aware of your toddlers overall protein intake this won't be an issue. Almond milk is naturally sweeter than soya so it'll be easier to introduce into their diet. Lactose free baby milk is a great milk alternative to give to your toddler.

Should a 1 year old have milk? ›

Infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk in the first 12 months of your baby's life. Whole cows' milk can be given as a main drink from the age of 1. Whole milk and full-fat dairy products are a good source of calcium, which helps your child build bones and keep teeth healthy.

What should I not give my baby before 1? ›

Foods to avoid giving babies and young children
  • Salt. Babies should not eat much salt, as it's not good for their kidneys. ...
  • Sugar. Your baby does not need sugar. ...
  • Saturated fat. ...
  • Honey. ...
  • Whole nuts and peanuts. ...
  • Some cheeses. ...
  • Raw and lightly cooked eggs. ...
  • Rice drinks.

What is the best food for 1 year old baby? ›

Be sure she has a portion of animal foods (milk, dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry) each day, plus legumes (like chickpeas, lentils or peas) – or nuts, and orange or green vegetables and fruits. Add a little oil or fat to her food for energy. Be sure your child's snacks are healthy, such as fresh fruit.

What did babies drink before? ›

Although artificial or formula-feeding of infants is presently much safer than it has been in decades, breastmilk is still considered the best source of infant nutrition (Leung & Sauve, 2005). Throughout the ages and until the end of the 19th century, animal's milk was the most common source of artificial feeding.

What happens if I give my 3 month old baby food? ›

What Doctors Say. Introducing solid food before your baby reaches four months of age raises the risk of increased weight gain and obesity, both in infancy and later in early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates waiting until your baby is at least four months old to introduce solid food.

Can I give my 1 year old baby food? ›

A 1-year-old can eat most table foods and shouldn't need baby foods any longer. You can begin whole or 2% milk from a cup. Continue Vitamin D supplementation of at least 400-600 IU/day for all children.

What are 1st stage foods for baby? ›

Solid foods can be introduced in any order, but most pediatricians recommend starting with a single-ingredient food that is easy to digest like pureed sweet potato, carrot, banana and/or avocado. Other options include pureed meats, poultry, beans and iron-fortified baby cereals like rice cereal or oatmeal.

When feeding a child new foods Why should you only introduce one ingredient at a time? ›

In the beginning, it may be best to introduce single-ingredient foods one at a time at weekly intervals. This process helps identify any food sensitivities the child might have. Gradually add vegetables, fruits, and meats to the infant's diet one at a time. Serving mixed foods is not recommended in the beginning.

What is the best way to introduce new foods into a toddlers diet? ›

To make it easier on you and your toddler, use these 5 tips when introducing new foods:
  1. Introduce new foods with old favorites. Seeing a favorite on your child's plate makes the new food less scary. ...
  2. Offer without pressuring. ...
  3. Offer a small portion. ...
  4. Let them see you enjoy the food. ...
  5. Try, try again.

How many times should you try new food before you like it? ›

Keep Trying

eventually (it can take eight or more tries). As adults, we're not much different. Studies have shown that the more times we try a food, the more we may like it.

How many times may it take for a food to become palatable to a child? ›

It can take as many as 10 or more times tasting a food before a toddler's taste buds accept it. Scheduled meals and limiting snacks can help ensure your child is hungry when a new food is introduced.

How many tries of different food does it take before a child becomes familiar with it and likes it? ›

Repeated exposure helps make the food more familiar and reduce fear or aversion. A child may need to be exposed to a food 10 or more times before they feel comfortable with it3. Even then, they still might not enjoy eating it - even adults don't like everything!

When a child only wants to eat one food for a while that is called? ›

Food jags, or when a child will only eat one food item at a time, is a common behavior in early childhood. It usually represents a way for children to show growing independence and is a normal part of their development. It may also indicate a fear of trying new foods, which is also normal in children.

How much food is enough for a baby? ›

Begin with two to three spoonfuls of soft and mashed food four times a day, which will give her the nutrients she needs without breastmilk. From 6–8 months old, she'll need half a cup of soft food four times a day, plus a healthy snack.

What is the 4 day rule for baby food? ›

Have you heard of the Four Day Rule? It is a simple way to test if Baby has an allergic reaction or digestive issue from a certain food. You simply introduce one food at a time every four days. For example, if you introduce bananas on Monday, then wait until Friday to introduce the next food.

What are second foods for baby? ›

When babies are 7 months to 8 months old, they can eat "2" baby foods, which include single-ingredient and combination foods that are strained instead of pureed. Examples of stage 2 foods include: Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 2 Apples & Bananas. Earth's Best Corn and Butternut Squash.

What are foods that you lick? ›

7 Finger-Licking Finger Foods to Satisfy a Crowd
  • Beet chips with feta-yogurt dip. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Italian focaccia. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Carrot hummus with pita bread. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Buttermilk chicken wings. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Fudgy brownies with pecans. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Loaded chicken nachos. → Go to recipe. ...
  • Pistachio-glazed doughnuts.
Nov 24, 2017

What foods should you avoid on game day? ›

Greasy, fried foods and fatty desserts are filling and may leave your athlete feeling tired and sluggish. Skip the fries or pizza before practice, and keep fat content on the light side. Eat with food safety in mind.

Should I have protein or carbs before a game? ›

Before the game

Athletes should focus on eating carbs, which are broken down in the small intestine. Limit intake of fat and protein, which are processed in the stomach and can cause cramping and indigestion with exercise.

Should I eat peanut butter before a game? ›

Limit high fat proteins such as cheese and peanut butter - they take a long time to empty from the stomach and will slow you down.

What should kids eat before sports? ›

A meal 3 to 4 hours before activity should have plenty of carbs and some protein but be low in fat. Fat takes longer to digest, which can cause an upset stomach. Carbs could include pasta, bread, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.

What is the best pre-game nutrition? ›

Athletes should eat a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, protein, and fruit or vegetables 2-3 hours before game time. Make sure to drink 12-24 ounces of water with a pre-game meal to stay hydrated. Pre-game meals may include: Whole wheat chicken sandwich with vegetables.

What is the best snack before a game? ›

7 Healthy Pre-Game Snacks
  1. Peanut Butter Sandwich. ...
  2. Fruit and Beef Jerky. ...
  3. Coconut Water and Protein Powder. ...
  4. Yogurt drink, Turkey and Cheese Cubes. ...
  5. Low-fat string Cheese and Pretzels. ...
  6. Fruit Salad and Graham Crackers. ...
  7. Cottage Cheese and a Granola Bar.
Jun 14, 2019

Is the phase you are what you eat true? ›

All three studies confirm, at some level, that the popular saying, “you are what you eat” may be accurate: If you consume hot and spicy food, there's a greater chance that you will be “hot headed.” Our results support a larger family of studies that suggest the types of food we eat can significantly affect our mood.

Is the food on sitcoms real? ›

Production companies rely heavily on restaurant supply companies to give their kitchen and dining rooms a realistic look. Actors eat real food in the scenes, but they're not swallowing every bite. Since multiple takes are required to get the scene just right, actors spit the food into a bucket between takes.

Is it true that certain foods make you happier? ›

Yes, according to researchers, healthy eating, particularly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and quality sources of protein can make you happy.

Is it rude to start eating before others? ›

Beginning to eat before everyone else is served is extremely rude,” Parker says. It's a long-standing rule that you should wait for everyone to have their food in front of them before digging in. In an ideal situation, the kitchen would prepare all the dishes to be ready at the same time.

What is the golden rule of eating? ›

Eat regular meals – don't skip meals – and always eat a healthy breakfast (e.g. bowl of natural hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk). 6. Restrict your alcohol intake.

Is it true that what you eat is what you are? ›

In a literal sense, we all can agree that it's true that 'you are what you eat'. Nutrients from the foods we eat provide the foundation of the structure, function, and wholeness of every little cell in our body, from the skin and hair to the muscles, bones, digestive and immune systems.

Does the order you eat matter? ›

Research has shown that digestion happens no matter what order food is eaten. Digestion begins in the mouth by chewing food to break it down. The stomach acids further break the food down which passes to the intestines, and nutrients from the broken up foods are absorbed and used by the body.

Why can't extras talk to actors? ›

Extras aren't supposed to say anything during a take, for as the saying goes, you aren't being paid to talk. Nor are you allowed to talk between takes when everything is being reset and put back to the way it was two minutes before.

Do actors get lunch breaks? ›

Do actors get a lunch break? Each meal break must be no less than thirty minutes, but the Producer can deduct actual time up to one hour spent at meals. The provisions for meal periods are the same for all performers.

Do they eat all the food on cooking shows? ›

The food you see on TV isn't getting eaten

Specifically, the food that gets cooked and plated eventually gets tossed. Instead, a new version of the same dish is actually cooked for judges to taste. These are called “swap outs” and can include versions of the dish in different stages of completion.

Do the food we eat affect your emotions? ›

However, evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel. Improving your diet may help to: improve your mood. give you more energy.

Does food taste better when you're sad? ›

Analysis revealed that positive emotions correlated with enhanced sweet and diminished sour intensities while negative emotions associated with heightened sour and decreased sweet tastes.

How do I stop seeking pleasure from food? ›

To help stop emotional eating, try these tips:
  1. Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. ...
  2. Tame your stress. ...
  3. Have a hunger reality check. ...
  4. Get support. ...
  5. Fight boredom. ...
  6. Take away temptation. ...
  7. Don't deprive yourself. ...
  8. Snack healthy.

Is your first meal the most important? ›

Breakfast is often called 'the most important meal of the day', and for good reason. As the name suggests, breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and alertness, while also providing other essential nutrients required for good health.

Does it matter what time you start eating? ›

Timing our meals this way may lead to better body weight, hormone regulation, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, sleep patterns and other metabolic improvements. The evidence indicates that our bodies do best when we eat more in the morning than at night, a pattern that's vastly different from how most Americans eat.

Is it polite to wait before eating? ›

Should you wait for the entire table to be served before you start eating? “A good host and a polite guest knows it's important to wait for everyone to be served,” Gottsman says. “However, a gracious guest that knows everyone else's food is getting cold will not want to hold up the table.


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