Ensuring that young children are eating healthy meals that promote physical and cognitive growth is crucial to their overall development. Balanced meals can help children stay healthy and feel energized. In fact, there are helpful guidelines and regulations concerning what children in childcare facilities and daycare centers are permitted to eat, how much, and more.
As an assistant in early childcare, there are a few strategies that you can use to make sure that mealtimes go smoothly and that children enjoy healthy diets. Read on to learn more about them!
Early Childcare Assistants Should Work to Limit Unhealthy Snacks
Unhealthy processed foods, as well as drinks and snacks that are high in sugar, should be strictly limited on all menus. A sweet tooth can’t always be avoided, so it might be a good idea for professionals with early childcare training to try offering more natural alternatives. Apple or pear slices, for example, can be highly nutritious snacks that can satisfy a child’s need for something sweet.
Early childcare workers should also avoid serving meals with a high amount of fat or processed meat. Instead of serving fish and chips, professionals can try grilling a chicken breast with a side of pasta or rice, or make lean tacos that kids are guaranteed to love.
Assistants in Early Childcare Can Help Maintain Proper Nutrition when Scheduling Meals
According to experts, children need to eat healthy snacks and meals, and drink plenty of water, at every three to four hours throughout the day. Professionals trained in early childcare can schedule these meals in a variety of ways, like by printing a universal lunch menu for each day of the week, or by scheduling mealtimes on an excel spreadsheet. Early childcare assistants should be wary of any allergies or dietary requirements a child may have, and be sure to take extra care when scheduling and preparing meals for them.
Graduates of early childcare college should also take into account each child’s preferences, and adapt meals around them as best they can. For example, if a child dislikes celery but prefers cucumbers, they can be substituted. Some children may also have specific nutritional needs, such as a vitamin C or Calcium deficiency, requiring more citrus fruit, milk, or almonds in addition to other foods. When scheduling, early childcare assistants working in Ontario should strive to respect the nutrition guidelines of the government, which designate the amount and type of meals children must receive.
Early Childcare Assistants Must Be Patient and Work at the Child’s Pace
When children sit down to eat their meals, they should be in a relaxed and calming environment. Promoting a positive environment for children while they eat could help them take a more optimistic view of certain healthy foods, making it slightly easier for early childcare workers to encourage a child to try a new food.
When suggesting that children try new healthy snacks, early childcare assistants should do so slowly and at the child’s pace. Resistance to eating healthy, particularly if the child has access to more sugary foods at home, is expected. Exercising patience when working to improve a child’s nutrition is essential for success.
Early childcare assistants can also get children to eat healthy foods by introducing them to meals from different cultures. This makes mealtimes fun, stimulating, and educational. It’s a sure-fire way to get kids excited about healthy food!
Are you ready to become an early childcare assistant?
Contact Anderson College for more details.