Promoting Healthy Food Since Early Age
Promoting Healthy Eating Since Early Age
Good nutrition is essential to healthy living and enables children to be active participants in play and leisure. Child Care and Education settings provide many opportunities for children to experience a range of healthy foods and to learn about food choices from educators and other children (Early Years Learning Framework, page 30; Framework for School Age Care, page 30).
This Policy details the Service’s approach to mealtimes when the food and beverages consumed by children while at the Service are provided by the Service. It also describes the way educators use mealtimes for a happy and social occasion, and for developing lifelong healthy food choices.
Victorian Department of Health, for example, suggests that children who eat healthy foods in their everyday lives can be more alert and interested in activities, which can improve their concentration and learning. To support this positive practice, all Early childhood education and care service educators are encouraged to support children’s development and growth, and to promote good eating habits. Besides it has been applied in the centre meal menu, one of the strategies that educators can use is to integrate this principle into their curriculum and educational activities.
Educators have an essential role to play in promoting healthy eating to children in their care.
The following shows some tips on how to become a great health promoter by:
- making mealtimes relaxed and comfortable
- sitting and eating with the children
- talking in positive ways about the healthy foods the children are eating
- encouraging fussy eaters to try new foods
- being a good role model with the foods you eat, and
- teaching the children about healthy eating through discussions, questions, games and activities (retrieved from the Department of Health, Victoria)
At the service level, child care centres should implement this policy at all times to ensure the sustainability of this healthy eating habits. The centres need to work together with the parents. At enrolment, for example, parents need to provide the Service with details of their child’s food and drink allergies and of any cultural preferences in food. The enrolment form has provision for parents to provide the Service with details of any special dietary requirements (e.g. allergies, culture, religion, food preferences). Parents are asked to update this information when any changes occur.
(Reference: From many resources)