Perhaps our junk food eating habits are formed earlier than we think. Speaking at an educational event in Napa Valley, Alanna Moshfegh, food surveys research leader for the USDA, revealed that the youngest Americans are getting an early taste for salty and sweet snacks. Approximately 43 percent of American toddlers between 12 and 23 months consume pastries, cookies, and cake; about one third of survey participants have given their toddlers soda; and 19 percent of youngsters have eaten candy before the age of two.
But if you’re a “good” parent and avoid giving your toddlers junk food, it’s likely that they’re getting unhealthy habits from somewhere else. A recent study found that 75 percent of packaged toddler food has too much sodium. Instead of introducing your child to the joy of Oreos, according to nutritionist Dr. Scott Cohen, you should be giving them foods like fish, eggs, and milk to make sure they’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and calcium.
These poor eating habits seem to continue on into adulthood, according to the USDA. Half of Americans surveyed admitted to eating zero fruit on a daily basis, while 30 percent of Americans skip out on vegetables.