I recently attended the relaunch of the Little Ashford preschools menu. The LAP offers a healthy breakfast , lunch and 2 snacks to their students. They completely understand the connection between a healthy diet and the ability of a child to concentrate and learn. They asked a dietitian to come in and assess the current menu and make necessary changes to it to improve it.
She spoke of creating a healthy balance on a plate. What does that mean? She says that the easiest way is to visualise it is as follows:
- ½ plate of veg
- ¼ protein
- ¼ carbs
This is a really good guideline for everyone to use going forward for each meal. It’s simple and easy to remember too.
Then came a really good question. How often can my child eat a treat ? Her guideline were 1-2 per week. What is a treat ? Anything that is not a healthy complex carb , protein, veg or fruit. Here are some ideas of treats are packed with goodness too:
- Popcorn and cashews
- Almond butter and apple
- Low-fat yoghurt smoothie ( using plain yoghurt and frozen fruit)
- Try link a protein and healthy carbohydrate.
How has the new and improved LAP been menu changed?
- The fibre content has been increased 15g ( on average nursery school child)
- They have Increased fruit and veg in the meals
- Lower GI foods have been chosen
- They decreased the sugar in foods.
Not sure how much your little one should be eating? Stick to these rules.
- Use their size of their Palm for protein
- Use their closed fist for healthy carbohydrates
- Their thumb size for healthy fats
- And a Hand full or two of vegetables.
Parents keep in mind that we are always role models and we need to show our children how to build a healthy relationship with food. It is never too early to speak to your child about being healthy. Studies say that children as young as three are effected by food disorders. It is our relationship to grow healthy, well-adjusted young adults
We need to think twice about the words we choose to use. We need to pay more attention on who is healthy and not comment on someone’s size.
These are the main areas that impact a child’s relationship with food. Look at the ones you can control and create those healthy understandings.
- Parents and family
- Self esteem
Here are some general rules for the home
- Focus on health rather than weight.
- Never comments on people’s weight
- Avoid talking about people’s weight
- If you need to loose weight, change your lifestyle to a healthier, explain what you get out of it
- Give them the tools to be healthy
- Make Exercise family a activity
- Cook together
- Get family involved
- Discuss media images with kids in a heathy way
- Help your children find Positive role models
- Avoid reward or punishment for food.
And finally encourage your child not to compare. We are all unique , it is what makes us special.
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