Top tips for parents on healthy eating
Getting a child to eat and drink a nutritionally balanced diet can be difficult!
Nutrients matter in early childhood because the young body needs them to support healthy growth. We want our children at Leapfrog to gain a love for vegetables and fruit as we know they are the main source of minerals and vitamins their bodies need at this vital time in their development. We can often be seen making vegetable soup with the children, fruit kebabs and courgetti spaghetti. By introducing vegetables in a positive way, talking about where they grow from and what animals might eat them is often a winning plot in getting them to try new ones! Small amounts of plenty of variety is best - picnic style is often favoured when trying to get the children to try different things. The more they are involved in the preparation and cooking the more likely they are to feel positive about the eating.
At Leapfrog we realise the importance of children learning healthy eating habits and whilst our snack and lunch times are fun, the staff reiterate the importance of learning to sit and focus on what you are eating. This is important in helping to regulate appetite and is why at Leapfrog we always ask the children to sit at the table for snack and lunch.
We offer milk and water at snack times, however whilst milk is important in children's diets, at mealtimes/lunchtime and when out and about we encourage plain water to be drunk; its aids digestion and does not cause dental decay as juice would. If your child is reluctant to drink water they can be encouraged by watching you drink water at mealtimes and, if you have a small jug, they can try pouring it themselves.
Make sure your child is hungry if you're encouraging them to eat/try something healthy this way there should be a higher success rate!
If you're at all worried about your child's diet, or concerned about their weight, you can speak to your child's key-worker who will work with you on encouraging them to try new things. You can also speak to your GP who can refer you to a dietitian for more expert advice.