Toddlers and pre-school children are growing and developing quickly and it’s an important time to make sure they are eating well to get all the nutrition, energy, calories and nutrients they need. This is also an important time for children to learn about food and eating, so that they get into the habit of consuming a healthy, varied diet, enjoyed with the rest of the family. However, for parents and carers it can be hard to know exactly what toddlers should be eating and in what amounts to get the correct nutrition they require.
At Little Garden Day Nurseries we love food and want to share that love of food with children. Involving our children in cooking is just one of the ways we encourage our Little Blossoms to explore different foods, tastes and textures and learn about new foods. As they get older we endeavor to teach them about nutrition and why healthy food is important for their bodies. Our chefs really enjoy getting involved and teaching the children about different food from around the world whilst encouraging their inquisitiveness about new tastes.
With our younger Little Buds, adding different and new foods into sensory play is a great first step to introducing these new exciting foods to their little palettes. As you probably know, babies will put anything and everything in to their mouths! So why not encourage this by giving them different foods and textures to explore to encourage their curiousity about the vast world around them… besides it probably beats sucking on a plastic rattle!
Did you know that each day toddlers need three meals and some snacks made up of foods from the four main food groups, in the right balance and in portion sizes just right for them? This is made up of:
- Starchy foods x 5-a-day
- Fruit & vegetables x 5-a-day
- Dairy foods x 3-a-day
- Protein foods x 2-a-day (x 3 portions if vegetarian)
Find out more information for portion sizes here.
So at Little Garden Day Nurseries we believe in the importance of a healthy and balanced diet to fuel growth and development. Our menus are full of tasty and interesting dishes that provide children with a wide range of tasty meals from all around the world. We spent a lot of time analysing each dish to ensure every meal has the correct nutritional value but most of all, that it tastes great and encourages children to try new things. We don’t add sugar or salt, our cooks produce each dish on site from fresh ingredients, so this means we know exactly what goes into each meal.
We encourage our meal times to be a friendly and sociable time where our staff and children sit and eat together and talk about how their day has been. Encouraging the children to be independent in serving their own meals and clearing their own plates instils them with a sense of ownership and achievement and creates confident, happy eaters.
Of course, some children have varied tastes and tolerances, so we cater for all dietary requirements and have a robust system in place to ensure each child safely receives the right food. It is normal for young children to refuse to eat certain foods from time to time. Some children will be reluctant to eat new foods and others will reject foods that are familiar even if they have previously eaten them without any fuss! Typically, these types of behaviour tend to reach a peak between 2 and 6 years of age, after which most children will become more accepting of a variety of foods. Despite this stage being fairly normal, ‘fussy’ eating should not be ignored because it is important that young children get used to eating a healthy, varied diet that includes foods from the four main food groups.
It might sound obvious, but the key to overcoming fussy eating is to help your child learn to like the foods you offer, because children will eat more of foods they enjoy. It is important to remember that children are born with very few food likes and dislikes – they acquire these through experience – and nearly all children are capable of learning to like a variety of foods from the four main food groups.
For more information head on over to our Food and Nutrition page.