Healthy Meals for Children

ID-100110377This article in the Daily Mail highlights the dangers of hidden sugars in food. This is hardly news because these risks have long been known and in recent times have been the subject of intense public scrutiny and a cause of concern. However, the article serves as a reminder that parents and child-care professionals must provide children with a healthy and balanced diet.

Studies have shown that food acceptability, choices and tolerance are learnt from the first day that babies are weaned on solids (perhaps even as early as when in the womb); these experiences determine lifetime eating habits. Whilst pre-prepared foods (such as jars of puree) can be convenient, these are not comparable to fresh healthy homemade food and should not be seen as a substitute.

It is important that families and those caring for children (whether childminders, nannies or school meals providers) ensure that the food given to children delivers all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and health benefits to help them grow and develop physically and psychologically. Sensible, healthy food choices in early ears encourage good diets throughout life.

Once children are old enough, they should be involved in food preparation. The vibrant colours of good healthy vegetables and the mess involved in preparing meals in general are both unbelievably appealing to children. Shaping food also helps encourage children to participate in cooking and to eat what has been prepared; that sense of ownership is essential …and curiously persuasive to a young mind!

Moreover, involving children in meal-making can be a wonderful, shared, bonding experience –one that will stay with them for life and benefit them for an entire lifetime. The benefits of being able to prepare gastronomic delights will teach children not just culinary know-how but also technical and presentational skills that will serve them long into adulthood, when home gatherings and entertainment based around meals become a social norm and bonding experience within the circle of family and friends. Everyone loves a good cook!

If you would like to understand how best to prepare meals that ensure a healthy, balanced diet, nannytraininglink offers short course training, advice sessions, and activity modules. Please see out TRAINING COURSES PAGE or  CONTACT US for more information.

Margaret Cowell

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