At Kid’s Island Nursery, we understand that healthy eating is easier to say than it is to put into action within the home. Time constraints can in many cases steer families away from healthy eating options. The Nursery regularly provide parent presentations regarding this topic to help provide parents with a framework to introduce healthier eating options.
Lyndsay Bettles, a cook, food stylist, writer and creator of the I eat my peas website, says “Feeding a young family can be an extremely stressful time. It is easy to get caught up emotionally when feeding our family.” Eating should represent a social time for children and adults. Eating in a relaxed and positive environment allows a child’s healthy relationship with food to flourish. An enjoyment of food and company creates a special bonding time and helps children to learn about healthy eating. It is important to remember that adults are the most important influence on a child‘s eating behaviour.
At a recent Inspire your Toddler to Eat the Rainbow presentation at Kid’s Island Nursery, it was suggested by Lyndsay that parents should focus on making mealtimes “SIMPLE, FRESH & COLOURFUL!”
Simple: Cook simple family meals and enjoy the process of preparing it.
Fresh: Remove processed foods and encourage children to learn about real food and how it is grown.
Colourful: Eat the rainbow! Feed your child nutrients and vitamins. Stock the fridge and cupboards with a variety of fruits and vegetables, which will expose your child to those foods and help shape their understanding of good food forever.
Lyndsay’s viewpoint on healthy eating is mirrored within Kid’s Island Nursery. Snack time is an important part of the Nursery’s daily routine and is organized so that it’s a social occasion in which children and staff participate together. Children are encouraged to develop independence through making choices and feeding themselves. Suitable containers are provided to parents so a variety of food can be packed for a healthy and colourful snack box.
Lunchboxes need not be dull and boring and once you get into a colourful mindset you may even get a bit creative. Lyndsay suggests different shaped rolls or cut sandwiches with a cookies cutter into fun shapes. It makes snack time in the nursery a lot of fun. A child’s favorite pasta or some mini pizzas will also encourage a little one to eat independently. Start with carbohydrates as the backbone and continue with protein and fruit & veg to provide additional nutrients and minerals. Rather than looking at the specific foods you pack in the lunchbox try to concentrate on giving at least 2 handfuls of fruit & veg and capture at least 2-3 colours daily.
Encourage children to help choose their own healthy snacks. Empower them to be involved in cooking and the preparing of food. Be adventurous and never stop exposing children to new foods in fun ways. Keep them interested by not venturing too far our of their comfort. Most important, MAKE IT FUN! Children love to feel in control so let them explore and experiment with food in their own way.
Kid’s Island Nursery is a well-established pre-school center located in Jumeirah/ Umm Suqiem, Dubai. Its ethos centers on being an extended family for its parents. Delivering the British Curriculum for over 27 years, Kid’s Island Nursery has enriched the program with innovative, nature-inspired and exciting educational approaches.