Good nutrition fuels brain and physical development
More than 80 percent of children do not eat enough of the healthy foods that their brains and bodies need for nourishment. Not having enough or proper nourishment can affect a child’s learning ability and concentration, and can cause them to be overweight.
What can you do to help your child eat healthy?
- Educate her early about the five main food groups needed for a balanced plate.
- At meals, encourage her to have half of her plate filled with fruits and vegetables, a lean protein, some fresh grains with lots of fiber and vitamins, and then a high calcium with vitamin D such as a glass of milk.
- Teach your child to “eat the rainbow,” meaning that the food on her plate should not be all of one color.
- Let your child help you plan a weekly menu.
- Explain to your child about portion control, and only allow seconds of vegetables.
- Limit sugary drinks like sodas and juices and encourage lots of water throughout the day. Water is good for the digestion and the brain!
- Kids love to dip their foods. Cut up their lean meats or fresh veggies and provide a low-fat dip for meal times.
- Have your child help you plant vegetables in a garden or shop for them at the store. Let her also help you wash and put them up.
- Read stories about gardening, cooking, or eating food.
- Ask for a monthly/weekly menu printout of your child care provider’s meals. Find out if the child care program uses mostly fresh foods or processed.
- Talk with your child care provider to find out how your child is during the program’s meal times: Does she eat her food? What are her favorites? Does she ask for seconds?
- Does your child care program have a kitchenette or store area for the children to use during pretend play? Is it well stocked with a variety of pretend fruits and vegetables?
- Is your child care director aware of the Child and Adult Care Food Program?
- Nourish Interactive
- USDA My Plate
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention Childhood Nutrition Facts
- USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions your family will make. With more than 5,000 state licensed and monitored child care programs to choose from, begin your search at QualityRated.org or call (877) 255-4254 to let trusted experts help you.