New moms get cooking, nutrition tips at Gerber Memorial’s first class on early childhood nutrition
FREMONT – Moms with newborn infants or who are about to give birth have a golden opportunity to fill their bundles of joy with energy-packed nutrition that can boost brain and body growth.
That was the takeaway Wednesday at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s first Early Childhood Nutrition class, a special three-class nutrition program designed to help parents and caregivers provide good nutrition to infants and toddlers from newborn to 2 years old.
“New moms who are breastfeeding can help ensure their child gets the nutrition they need to thrive, by eating right and knowing more about the food and beverages they consume,” said Gerber Memorial registered dietitian Jennifer Osantowski. “That’s what our early childhood nutrition program is intended to do, which is share information with moms and caregivers in our community and empowering them to make good choices so their child can get a strong start in life from a food and nutrition standpoint. We invite families and caregivers of young children to attend our free classes, get some tips and learn ways to prepare some delicious, nutritious meals that’s good for the whole family.”
The nine attendees – including three newborns – at Wednesday’s session for pregnant moms and newborns to 6-month-olds learned about key nutrients to consume during pregnancy, such as folic acid in dark leafy greens, Omega 3 in fish oil supplements and protein in beef and eggs. Osantowski also highlighted items to avoid, from tobacco and alcohol to fish with high mercury content, such as mackerel, swordfish and tuna steaks.
After getting tips and information about recipes and ingredients, the group shared a nutritious lunch of spinach salad and a hearty chicken, tomato and quinoa soup.
The next session, Feb. 14, is for infants 6 months to 12 months. The final class Feb. 21 is for 1- to 2-year-olds. All classes are 10 a.m. to noon. Registration is required because of limited space, and child watch is available on site. People with transportation questions or who want to register can call 231.924.3073. The three-class program will also be held in May.
As in the first class, participants will learn about nutrition for nursing moms, important nutrients for children depending on their ages, transitioning to solid food, food safety and other tips and strategies for early childhood nutrition.
Lunch is provided during the classes and participants receive a prepared meal to bring home to share with their families. Participants will also receive a gift, and those who attend all three classes by age group will receive a grand prize.