New parenthood is stressful enough, but add in a busy end-of-year agenda of travel, parties, family gatherings and more into the mix and you’re looking at a very hectic holiday season. Dr. Dyan Hes, a pediatrician and children’s nutrition advocate, is here to offer advice on providing your new baby with healthy food while you’re on the move during the holidays.
If traveling, bring foods and snacks that you can prepare quickly.
If you plan to travel with your baby over the holiday season, pack foods that you can quickly serve on the go. For example, avocados and bananas are healthy options that you can easily mash and feed to your child. I recommend keeping a small, portable food masher and stackable snack-size cups with you for simple food prep, serving and storage. Also, most airlines allow small containers of baby food in your carry-on (check with the airline before you travel).
If your baby is eating solids, bring lots of snacks with you. Dr. Brown’s Tummy Grumbles Reusable Snack Bags are perfect for mobile feeding because you can easily see what’s in them, they save space in your luggage, and they stand upright to prevent spills.
Know which holiday foods are healthy.
Plenty of traditional holiday dishes are both tasty and nutritious. When considering your child’s meal, focus on the buffet table’s healthier options. Vegetables that are full of fiber and vital nutrients, like green beans and carrots, are excellent choices. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A. Finely chopped turkey is a great source of protein and iron, but adding too much gravy can quickly compromise these benefits. A few cranberries on the side are good for providing vitamin C and antioxidants. Winter squash is rich in vitamin A and potassium, and can be easily mashed. Keep these foods in mind when preparing your child’s holiday meals.
The constant stress and activity of the holidays can leave both you and your little ones dehydrated. It’s important to always stay hydrated, especially for growing children, but this can be overlooked by parents who are traveling or otherwise overwhelmed by the pressures of the holiday season.
Once your pediatrician confirms your child is old enough to drink water, make sure to always have a spill-proof sippy cup handy for quenching your little one’s thirst.
Dr. Dyan Hes, M.D., is the Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City, Director on the American Board of Obesity Medicine and a member of Dr. Brown’s Medical Panel.