Welcome to March! For many, this month is all about itching for spring, but it’s also about nutrition. March is National Nutrition Month®, which raises awareness of the importance of good eating habits. Healthy eating is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for young children.
Childhood is an impressionable time in life when many habits are formed that shape adulthood, including those that deal with nutrition. If you teach your little one to eat and enjoy fruits, vegetables and whole grains early on, it will resonate throughout their life and lead to better health. That’s one of the reasons why Primrose Schools and I worked together to develop Balanced Menus, which ensures students get the proper balance of nutrition while in school. The new Primrose breakfast, lunch and snack menu meets and exceeds current nutrition regulations and guidelines for young children. Some of the features of Balanced Menus include:
- More fruits and vegetables are served per day, and at least one fresh fruit or vegetable is served daily.
- The weekly menu includes a variety of vegetables from every MyPlate vegetable group.
- The majority of all grains served are 100% whole grain or whole grain-rich (which means at least 50% of the ingredients are whole grain).
- Schools avoid serving foods with trans fat and products containing partially hydrogenated oils.
- Food items containing artificial food coloring and added sugar content are limited.
- At least one vegetarian entrée is served per week.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, promoting healthy eating is part of my profession – but as a mom of two young children, I’m also very passionate about it. Promoting good health for your child, incorporating cultural influences and appealing to her taste buds is a balancing act – just like parenting in general. We took all three of these factors into consideration when developing the new Primrose menu.
Balanced Menus has now officially launched in all Primrose schools across the country and the response has been overwhelming. Primrose halls are filled with the aroma of freshly baked zucchini bread and happy children who are now more interested in their food and the ingredients used in each dish. Parents are shocked to see their child eating hummus and trying other new foods.
You can benefit from Primrose’s menu and focus on health and nutrition regardless of whether your child goes to a Primrose school. Check out these Snacktivities for healthy snack ideas that you can make with your child. They’re a great way to engage your little one in healthy eating while enjoying quality time together in the kitchen!