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In This Issue
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Healthy Nutrition for Kids

 
Good nutrition is important for people of all ages, but especially for children. Children need good nutrition for proper growth and development. Children's bodies use nutrients from food to function properly and stay healthy. Nutrients give children the energy to grow, learn, and be active. The topic of childhood nutrition is everywhere in the media these days, but many are still confused, especially when it comes to what children eat. Childcare providers and educators have an important opportunity and responsibility to help children develop healthy eating habits.

According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, only 25 percent of children meet the daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake. In 2010, the Journal of the American Diabetic Association reported that early childhood education environments have difficulty achieving nutritional standards, and 50 percent of children in child care do not eat the recommended amount of grains and milk. It's clear that child care professionals and parents have a responsibility to improve nutritional policies to support young children. Parents and teachers should have basic knowledge of nutrition, food safety, and early childhood development so they can model proper dietary and health behaviors, create balanced meals to serve children, and supervise children and monitor their food choices.

While time constraints, peer pressure, and advertisements promoting junk food can make healthy eating a challenge, there are steps childcare providers can take to instill healthy eating patterns. It's important to develop healthy eating habits at an early age so that children can learn the importance of a well-balanced diet, and to help them grow into confident and happy adults.

Children develop a preference for the foods they enjoy the most, so it's key to make healthy choices appealing. While it can be challenging to make an apple as appealing as a cookie, you must ensure that your child's diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible, even while allowing for some of their favorite treats.  
 
Try some of these tips to promote healthy childhood eating:  
  • Family-Style Meals. Encourage family-style meals where all the children are involved. This is a great way to make mealtime more social and enriching.
  • Try new food. Introduce new fruits or vegetables to the meal plan. This is a good way to create awareness and help eliminate boredom from eating the same food everyday.
  • Plant a garden. Plant a garden at the center to encourage children to help in harvesting the fruits or vegetables. This helps keep children involved in the food experience and encourages healthy eating habits.
  • Read food labels. Make a game out of guessing what's on food labels. The whole class will learn what's good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat.
Maintaining a healthy nutrition for children can be tough, but by teaching children healthy eating habits, and modeling these behaviors in yourself, you can help your children maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Try to limit fast food, takeout, and junk food, and instead focus on wholesome meals. Childcare providers have a lot of influence in a child's life. He or she will follow your example, so it's important for you to be a good role model when it comes to making healthy choices. Even small changes in eating habits and physical activity can have a big impact on children's health. 
 
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MyPlate at Home
Article Courtesy of usda.gov

 

This booklet from the United States Department of Agriculture's Team Nutrition initiative offers some fun and easy tips for building healthier family meals that include the five food groups. This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about nutrition, try new foods together, and get your child involved in making healthier meals and snacks.  View Article 
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     Nutrition for kids: Guidelines     
Article Courtesy of mayoclinic.org
 
Nutrition for kids is based on the same principles as nutrition for adults. Everyone needs the same types of nutrients - such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Children, however, need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. So what's the best formula to fuel your child's growth and development? Check out the following nutrition basics. View Article  
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This Month's Trial Course: Nutrition and Food Service  
 
CCEI offers CCEI530B: Nutrition II: Nutrition and Food Service in the Childcare Setting as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of September. 

This course examines proper food service methods to be implemented in the childcare setting. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to define a food and nutrition policy for a child care center, list steps to reduce choking hazards, and explain proper food preparation and food storage methods for an early childhood environment.
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