2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines: 3 Things Every Parent Should Know
For the first time ever, the USDA has released recommendations for infants and toddlers under 2 years of age in their 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Report. This is because the USDA has recognized how important this foundational feeding time is for someone's long-term health. Before age 2, "every bite matters."
As the USDA report says, a nutritious diet under age 2 "is essential to support healthy growth and development during infancy and childhood, adolescence and adulthood.”
Also, feeding decisions during a child's first 1,000 days of life are crucial, because they "not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices."
Here are 3 points from the USDA guidelines that every parent needs to know for feeding their baby:
- Feed baby peanut and egg early, to reduce their food allergy risk
- No added sugar for children under 2
- Feed baby a diverse, healthy diet
1. Feed baby peanut and egg early, to reduce their food allergy risk
The new guidelines also recommend feeding babies peanut and egg starting at 4 months of age to prevent severe food allergies. This change was supported by landmark clinical trials on food allergy prevention, showing that early introduction of allergenic foods is safe and can help significantly reduce baby’s risk of developing food allergies. This important recommendation applies to all babies and risk groups, underlining the importance of early prevention to help
prevent more than 200,000 food allergies annually.
According to the USDA guidelines, it's crucial to start feeding your baby peanut early and often, starting as early as 4 months of age, to reduce their peanut allergy risk.
- As the guidelines report, "Strong evidence suggests that introducing peanut in the first year of life" (starting after a baby turns 4 months old) "may reduce risk of food allergy to peanuts."
- Early peanut introduction benefits all babies, regardless of their food allergy risk.
- But it's especially important for babies with severe eczema, who are at the highest risk for peanut allergies.
2. No added sugar for babies under 2
As part of the new guidelines for babies and toddlers, the 2020-2025 Guidelines is also recommending no added sugar for infants and children under the age of 2. This helps to address the obesity epidemic that now affects nearly 5 million American children.
As the guidelines report, parents should "avoid" giving babies "foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life." This is because the unhealthy energy in sugary foods takes away from the energy in nutritious foods, "increasing the risk of nutrient inadequacies."
3. Feed your baby a diverse, nutritious diet
Feeding your baby a variety of healthy foods is key to developing healthy habits for life, says the USDA. Even though babies develop at different rates and each baby will have different nutritional needs, keep your baby’s diet diverse and nutritious.
For babies 6-12 months who are starting solids, the USDA recommends:
- Breastmilk or formula should be the primary source of nutrition
- Prioritizing fruits and vegetables.
- Also prioritizing diverse types of meats and seafood, as well as egg. This covers key nutrients, such as iron, zinc, choline, and healthy fatty acids.
- Feeding baby age-appropriate forms of peanut and egg, to help prevent food allergies and provide healthy fatty acids.
- Leaving no room for added sugars and very little room for added oils and added solids and fats.
For 12-24 month olds (especially those no longer consuming breastmilk or formula), the USDA recommends:
- “A variety of nutrient-rich animal-source foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.”
- Prioritizing seafood.
- Fruits and vegetables, especially ones high in potassium.
- Peanut, tree nuts, and seeds.
- Whole grains.
- Few oils, and no added sugar
How to Follow the USDA Food Allergy Prevention Guidelines
We know that parents need resources and support to implement the new guidelines on food allergy prevention at home which is why we’re proud to partner with Ready, Set, Food! Their gentle, guided system slowly and safely introduces baby to the most common food allergens (peanut, egg, and milk) in pre-measured amounts consistent with the new clinical guidelines. Learn more about Ready, Set, Food! below.
About Ready, Set, Food!
Ready, Set, Food! aligns with USDA Guidelines to introduce peanut and egg
(plus, milk) to help prevent 80% of food allergies for your child. In addition, their ingredients are ONLY organic peanuts, egg, and milk with no added sugar or additives. The system gradually introduces common food allergens in the amounts used in landmark clinical studies, for maximum safety and efficacy. Plus, it easily mixes with breastmilk, formula, or puree, so it makes following the new guidelines simple and easy for parents everywhere. Ready, Set, Food! Follows the new USDA Guidelines and is recommended by over 1000 pediatricians and allergists.