Nutritional Milestones for Young Families

Nutritional Milestones for Young Families

Important times to check in with a nutritionist that you may not have considered

  • Pregnancy: If you just found out you are pregnant, a session with a nutritionist is important to help ensure proper nutrition for you and your baby, including discussion about supplements to take at various points in your pregnancy. If you are dealing with nausea or vomiting in pregnancy, gestational diabetes or low iron levels, these concerns will also be addressed.  

  • Introducing Solids: Between the varying opinions between doctors and constant changes in recommendations, not to mention friends/family offering their input based on personal experience, it is no surprise that this can be a confusing time for parents, especially first-timers. A session with a nutritionist will help put things into perspective and give you a better understanding of when to begin, what to introduce first and how to progress, how to balance the introduction of solids with your baby's milk intake and how to create healthy eating habits for your child.

  • Approaching your child's 1st birthday: This is an often overlooked but very important time to visit a nutritionist. If you are planning to wean your child off of breast milk or formula around this time, you want to ensure there is good balance in your child's diet. Often parents have questions regarding this transition including what type of milk or milk alternative to switch to, how much (if any) is necessary and how to make the transition as seamless as possible. It is also an important time to assess your child's ability to handle various food textures and to ensure they are making a smooth transition to table foods and developing self-feeding skills. Some children may begin to show signs of pickiness at this stage and addressing it early can make all the difference.

  • Toddlers: If your child has not shown early signs of pickiness, picky eating will often begin to appear between 18-24 months of age. Toddlers go through many changes, particularly in terms of cognitive development and this can have a significant impact on their eating.  Add to that their desire to be independent, fear of new foods and long list of other reasons your child may choose not eat at any given point.  This is often a very stressful and frustrating time for parents but a nutritionist who specializes in dealing with picky eaters will be able to help you through this.

  • Starting school: For many parents, the start of school means packing lunches for your child on a daily basis and this can often be a overwhelming task. If you need ideas for healthy school lunches or are struggling with a child who is not eating their lunch at school, a nutritionist would be able to assist you with this.

  • Puberty: This is a time when your child starts going through hormonal changes and their bodies will begin to look different. Often children will put on extra weight and this can lead to a lack of confidence and a desire to adjust eating habits in an attempt to control their weight.  Often friends or other kids at school will make negative comments that have an impact a child's self-esteem. This is an important time for your child to discuss proper eating habits with a nutritionist and to encourage a healthy relationship with food.

  • Teenager: Similar to the toddler years, teenagers are striving for independence and will begin making many of their own food choices such as eating out with friends or preparing their own meals at home on occasion. This is a great time to bring your child in with you to see a nutritionist, to help teach them to make healthy food choices on their own terms.


  • Other nutrition concerns: If your child is experiencing any of the following, it would also be a good time to visit a nutritionist...Reflux, chronic constipation, food allergies/sensitivities, eczema, frequent colds/infection, fatigue or weight concerns.

    * If at any point your child makes a significant dietary shift such as moving towards a vegetarian/vegan, dairy free or gluten free diet, this would also be a great time to see a nutritionist to ensure your child's diet is balanced and help them make this transition in a healthy way.

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Aviva Allen is one of  Toronto's leading Kids' Nutritionists specializing in helping parents deal with their picky eaters.