(CNN)There's a new motto for parents when it comes to feeding babies from birth until 2 years of age: "Every bite counts."
That's the takeaway from the first plan ever proposed for infants and toddlers by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of experts charged with providing science-based recommendations twice each decade on how our diet affects our health.
"This report continues the traditional emphasis on individuals ages 2 years and older and, for the first time, expands upon it to reflect the growing body of evidence about appropriate nutrition during the earliest stages of life," the report stated.
"Nutritional exposures during the first 1,000 days of life not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices."
Released Wednesday, these final recommendations are sent to the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, which use them to create the final 2020 to 2025 dietary guidelines that dictate much of what Americans will eat over the next five years.
The advisory group's recommendations "are enormously influential," said nutrition researcher Marion Nestle, who has authored numerous books on food politics and marketing, including 2015's "Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)."
"They govern food assistance programs, influence food industry marketing, and also influence the actual guidelines and food advice for the public," Nestle said.
So how did this committee do, considering all the challenges of a short time frame, Covid-19 logistics and the need to add recommendations for the first two years of life?
"This is an impressive, solid, conservative review of the existing science highly consistent with previous Dietary Guidelines but with mostly stronger recommendations," Nestle said.