It’s a fact: American families struggle to establish healthy eating habits. A study on feeding infants and toddlers found that the most common “vegetable” eaten by American toddlers is the french fry.
Healthy diet is essential to the well-being of children; research proves that healthy food choices reduce future health problems, can improve cognitive function, and much more. Knowing this, it only makes sense that these healthy habits should begin long before elementary school. Incorporating healthy habits into the lives of our little ones can help form a solid foundation for a lifelong love of and excitement for healthy living. Here are a few healthy habits we help instill in our little ones:
- Healthy Food Choices: By introducing children to nutritious foods at a young age, they are more likely to develop healthy eating habits for life. We developed our Balanced Menu program with expert consultants to ensure students receive and discuss the importance of meals and snacks that include a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
- Family-Style Eating: In our classrooms, children serve themselves and sit around a table with their peers. There are many benefits to this style of eating, including developing fine motor skills and learning to respond to natural hunger cues.
- Table Manners: The table is a great place to practice manners. We teach students to say “please” and “thank you,” and also encourage them to politely ask their peers to pass items.
- The Primrose Patch: Research shows that children who help with gardening are more likely to try (and actually eat) healthier foods, and we’ve seen this come to life with our Primrose Patch gardens! Students learn about healthy choices and nature, help with the responsibilities of tending to plants, and often eat the vegetables they grow and harvest in school meals.
Here are a few simple ways you can instill the importance of nutrition and establish healthy eating habits in your home:
- Cook Up Fun: Try out these “snacktivity” videos for fun ways to involve children in making healthy snacks and lasting memories in the kitchen. Make these fruit popsicles on a hot day or bake banana oat bites for grab-and-go potassium.
- Start a Home Garden: As we mentioned, if children help grow produce, they are more likely to eat it! Even just growing one or two types of produce in containers is a great way to start a garden in your home. Tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are all easy ones to start with – click here for more easy home garden tips and ideas.
- Eat as a Family: The benefits of family-style eating apply at any table! Plus, you’ll enjoy valuable bonding time with your child as you enjoy a meal together. Keep the conversation going and model positive table manners for an easy learning opportunity.
For a firsthand look at our balanced menus and the Primrose Patch, schedule a tour today!
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