Gerber Memorial to host free nutrition program in February for toddlers, infants, pregnant moms
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is holding a special series of free nutrition classes this February designed to help parents and caregivers provide good nutrition to infants and toddlers from newborn to 2-year-olds.
Topics for the free sessions, which will be held 10a.m. to noon at Tamarac, 1401 W Main St., Fremont are:
During the classes, participants will learn about nutrition during pregnancy, nutrition for nursing moms, important nutrients for babies, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, transitioning to solid food, food safety and other tips and strategies for early childhood nutrition.
Lunch will be provided and participants will receive a prepared meal to bring home to share with their families.
The program is now in its second year.
“The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for healthy development and our early childhood nutrition classes are designed to help give children a strong start, with the right food at the right time,” said Jena Zeerip, Gerber Memorial community programs supervisor. “Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is excited we can bring these classes to our community so new moms, moms-to-be, caregivers and parents have information about the best nutrition for moms and babies. At the end of the day, we hope we can empower parents and caregivers to play an active role in helping Newaygo County kids be as healthy as possible from day one.”
Rachel Doremus of Fremont participated in all three sessions last year, attending with her daughter Olivia, who was 6 months old at the time. “I know all about the importance of exercise, and I didn’t know that much about nutrition,” said Doremus, who is a fitness instructor. “I wanted to make sure to set Olivia up for success, and get her started early for nutrition.”
Doremus’ challenge with Olivia was something many parents can relate to: Olivia was a picky eater and sometimes barely ate her food. “In the past, we’d only try a new food one time and if she didn’t like it, we never tried it again,” Doremus said. “Now, we try things multiple times, and we go back and forth because you just have to keep trying and not give up. Olivia’s a really good eater now. She likes squash and sweet potatoes, she likes roasted vegetables. There’s not much she won’t eat.”
Doremus said the entire family is also seeing another benefit: Mom and dad are working more veggies into their diet. “Taking nutrition classes like this can make parents realize they need to eat better too,” Doremus said. “If Olivia sees us eat vegetables or healthier foods, she’s more likely to eat that food herself too.”
Because of the benefit she’s seen in her family’s eating habits, Doremus has been telling her friends about the early childhood nutrition classes and encouraging others to go.