Nutritious snacks and meals are vital to the wellbeing of children. Preschool children require high quality meals in order to grow and develop. This is to counter obesity and the life threatening diseases that come along with malnutrition and eating disorders. By providing a high quality diet and providing adequate daily exercise, preschoolers can balance their recommended calories intake and the energy they burn throughout the day.
The nutritional goals that I would put in place for the children in my class are to: understand how food and health are related, understand portion controls and knowledge of foods that are beneficial to the body and food that are not. These goals are achievable by all students and families. It is imperative that children understand the ways that food and health are related. By eating complete healthy meals regularly, children are fueling their bodies, in order to perform day to day activities. When children are not eating balanced nutritious meal, they often feel cranky and tired.
“Studies show [eating breakfast] helps kids perform better and get into less behavioral problems at school” (Haupt, 2011). Foods that have a high fat and sugar content cause children to become lethargic, cranky, and moody. This, in turn, hinders absorption of new materials and concepts. Poor nutrition hinders learning on a whole. “More that 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and there are twice as many overweight children and three times as many overweight teens as there were two decades ago” (Trends Effects Solutions, 2004).
This is an alarming number and the situation does not look promising for future generations. One of the main reasons for this epidemic is not understanding portion control. People often eat a substantial amount of food on a daily basis. Educators need to provide children with the option of family style dining, which provides a model for children to base their eating habits on. There are many different ways to express your wellness. Two of those ways are exercising and eating. Many children have allergies to a variety of different foods.
For these children, I would provide dairy substitute, such as coconut milk and soy butter in place of peanut butter. I would involve the parents and families in their child’s gross motor activities, in order to introduce the information to them. I would also email the parents to inform them of nutritional changes about to take place. I would then meet with each family to discuss nutritional goals that they had for their child. In addition, I would give them a sample menu of foods that are appropriate for the growth and development of a child