PromiseLand 

PromiseLand 

Child Care

Kids and Eating Healthy

One of the joys of working as a child care director is dealing with the regular influx of new rules and regulations set forth by the great state of New York.  Many of them make sense and all of them are geared towards ensuring that children in child care are kept safe.  But, there are so many!  It can get overwhelming.  One new emphasis of the child care world is healthy eating for children – and that is something I am happy to work with.

 

I have never met a parent who has never had any eating issues with his or her child.  It’s the nature of children to test, question, and push limits and food they have some control over.  So the potential for disputes exists.  You may have heard some of these phrases, or even used them yourself:  “If you don’t eat one more bite you are going to be in trouble;” “See, that didn’t taste so bad, did it;” or, “stop crying and I will give you a cookie.”  The problem is that each of those phrases can have a big negative impact on developing a child’s healthy eating habits.

 

One way to increase a child’s willingness to try something new is by using positive language as it is introduced.  Use phrases that point out the sensory qualities of the food:  “This is a kiwi – it tastes sweet, like a strawberry.”  Help children recognize when they are hungry or full:  “Is your stomach telling you that you are full?”  Give your child the feeling that he or she is making the choice:  “Which one is your favorite?”  “Everybody likes different foods, don’t they?”  An important factor is removing food as a reward.  Using a cookie as a treat when a child eats his or her vegetables makes some foods seem better than others.  Reward your child with attention and kind words, hugs and talks.

 

Child care programs in New York State are now required to “be in compliance with the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program meal patterns.”  Our program is now distributing pamphlets called “Together We Can Raise Healthy Children,” to each of our families.  Our parent’s bulletin board contains a number of informative articles and ideas for families of young children, relating to health and good nutrition.  To learn more about the CACFP, check out their web site at www.health.ny.gov/CACFP.  PromiseLand will also begin offering a “recipe of the week” on our Facebook page.  Check out the recipe for our child-friendly “Super Smoothie.”  It’s simple and delicious and perfect for a hot summer day!

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