If you’re like me, you are constantly telling your child (or grandchild) to eat more fruits and vegetables (or sneaking more into their diet at every opportunity). It’s ingrained in us as parents; we know how important proper nutrition is to our child’s growth and development. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean our little ones feel the same. Parents are up against a lot: picky eaters, enticing junk food, and a lack of control over what children eat when they’re not at home, to name a few. Primrose recognizes these challenges and the need to establish a love for healthy foods in children early on, which is why we make a deliberate effort to foster healthy eating habits in our schools.
As we’ve talked about in past posts, encouraging healthy habits in children early on is essential to their future health and success. That’s why we developed our Balanced Menus program, which exposes our students to a variety of healthy foods and ensures they get the proper balance of fruit, vegetables and whole grains while in school.
We encourage children try new foods on the menu on a regular basis, as research shows children are more likely to accept a new food if it’s offered 10-15 times, though we always respect a child’s preferences and will never make him eat anything he doesn’t want to. We’ve also built several lessons and experiences into our curriculum to help children learn about nutrition and to encourage a healthy relationship with food – starting in our infant classrooms through kindergarten.
Here are a few examples of how healthy eating is integrated into our curriculum:
- Our teachers use sign language with infants and toddlers to encourage them to express their food needs and preferences as well as communicate when they are finished eating.
- We help children recognize signs of hunger and fullness and encourage them to gauge their hunger level.
- During mealtime, story time and dramatic play, teachers point out healthy foods to children and explain how they are good for our bodies.
- We teach children to take a “no thank you” bite to promote trying new foods. If they try it and don’t like it, we always accept their preference.
- Some classes take a “field trip” to the school kitchen or have the school chef come into the classroom to talk about how healthy meals are prepared.
- We help students learn to distinguish between healthy foods and “sometimes foods” (foods that are not as healthy and should be eaten in moderation).
- When they’re old enough, we get children involved in preparing and serving snacks. They are more likely to eat and try foods if they’ve had a hand in getting the snack or meal ready to eat. Check out Primrose Schools’ Snacktivity videos for ways to get your child involved in making fun, healthy snacks at home!
Balanced nutrition, just like healthy habits and physical activity, is a key component to raising a healthy child. Primrose Schools works closely with parents to ensure their child is developing the skills, traits and habits that will lead to Healthy Bodies for life.