Tip: The first 12 years of your child’s life are so important to who they are and what they become! Make sure you give them the special gift of Smart Nutrition.

by the Chef Marshall O'Brien Group


Every parent wants to give his or her child the best chance for a happy, healthy life. While body and brain development continue through their mid-twenties, most of your child’s development is complete by age 12with birth through age five as a critical phase. The food you feed your child fuels their growth and development. When children receive inadequate nutrition their bodies and minds do not reach their full potential. Helping your child thrive and mature into a successful, healthy adult by providing good nutrition during these crucial early years is that special gift you can give your child.

Encourage Children to Try New Foods

In their first year, 60 percent of all nutrition your child receives goes towards brain development. Feed your baby breast milk, or a high quality formula, if breastfeeding is not possible, for up to a year. When they are ready for solid foods, provide your child with a wide range of healthy, whole food choices. Don’t be dismayed if your child rejects a food – it can takes several attempts for children to enjoy new flavors. The more variety of taste and texture your child is exposed to, the more open they will be as they get older.

Minimize Unhealthy Ingredients

Check the nutrition label on all new foods to minimize added sugar, excess sodium, trans fats and artificial ingredients in your child’s diet.  An occasional treat is fine, but eating them on a regular basis fills your child’s body with empty calories and prevents real nutrition from whole foods. This often leads to excess weight gain and long-term health risks. This includes sweetened beverages and most fruit juices. While juice provides more vitamins than soda, it lacks fiber and the added sugar leads to low nutrition and probable weight gain. Drink water and offer them apple slices instead!

Eating Habits Are Learned Early

Eating habits your child learns in their first 12 years stay with them for the rest of their life. When your child sees that you making smart eating a priority in your life they are more likely to make it a priority in their own lives as they grow into adulthood. Research shows that children who have frequent family meals (five or more per week) are at lower risk for adolescent substance use, depression and delinquency and have higher rates of psychological well-being.

Make Nutritious Foods and Family Meals a Priority

Like all parents, you want to do everything in your power to provide the best opportunities for your kids. One of the easiest ways to do this is to provide them with smart nutrition that fuels them and allows them to grow physically and mentally to their fullest potential. By making nutritious foods and regular family meals a priority now, you are forming patterns that will lead them to a lifetime of healthy eating. It is never too late to start giving your child the gift of nourishing eating.

You will love the way you and your family feel!

The Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.