Healthy Eating for your toddlers and Pre-schoolers.
We all know that promotion and good examples are a better route when encouraging our little ones to enjoy healthy eating, rather than trying to cure bad habits and bad choices that as parents we have allowed. It is easier to start as we mean to go on.
Right from the weaning stage your child will rely on you to provide them with all the necessary nutrients that their little bodies and minds need to grow into healthy young people. There is no doubt that as parents we all lead busy lives and we often find ourselves grabbing something pre cooked and shop bought, as the most practical way of serving your child their meals. On the odd occasions this is not harmful, however relying on this form of nutrition for your child is not recommended. There is nothing better for your developing child than home cooked nutritionally balanced, visually stimulating meals.
Bad habits and routines can be hard to change, however, if you are organized in your menu planning especially when food shopping, you can keep the unhealthy foods out of your home in the first place. If your child is able, include them in shopping and selecting good foods, involving them encourages awareness about food products and making healthy choices.
The recommended dietary guidelines for your child are made up of two portions each of fruit and vegetables (Cooked, added to soups or raw in their lunch boxes and as finger foods), four servings of wholegrain (Examples are multigrain bread for sandwiches and brown rice) and three servings of milk and dairy amounting to one pint of whole milk. (Cheese, sugar free yogurt and milk puddings can be alternatives).
Not only will these foods support your little ones developing physical needs, giving them healthy bones, teeth and internal organs but it will also support your child’s mental capacity to be balance and unhindered.
We know children learn by example and healthy eating is no exception. Sitting down to family meals encourages children to try new foods that they see you eating and promotes a healthy attitude to meal times. It is important not to rush meal times as they are a great opportunity to share information about foods, how they grow, where they come from and how they help our bodies to be healthy. Introduce new foods one at a time and if at first, they are refused, keep offering them with no pressure. It can take as long as 10 times of trying a new food before the child accepts it. At Paddington nursery we promote family style dining. Each child is encouraged to wash their hands, set their own place as independently as possible and then tidy away when everyone has finished. Staff are actively encouraged to sit and eat with the children, to facilitate discussion about the food we are eating and why. This allows the children to experience a calmness and self-control at meal times, which promotes a positive attitude to food and sitting down to eat.
At Paddington children are welcome to bring a pack lunch or they can enjoy a lunch from Petit Gourmet. Petit Gourmet provide nutritionally balanced snacks and lunches for your child, whilst they are in our care. For more information about them and the food packages available, please visit their website, www.petitgourmetuae.com
If you wish to discuss your child’s eating or nutritional needs, please do not hesitate to speak to our Nurse. She will also work with you to support any food allergies your little one may have or specific dietary needs.