‘Have I given my child food from all the food groups today?’
That’s a question you might ask yourself, at the end of the day. A day in the Parent Life, which is never easy, as we all know.
While ensuring our children get all the nutrients they need from the recesses of our kitchens, we sometimes ignore what they might be eating, at the Childhood Centre they go to.
It is imperative that the institution your child goes to, adopts only the soundest Nutrition Policies. After all, you are entrusting the care of your little one to them, and the last thing you want is for your child to not get the adequate nutrition they need.
That’s because, according to UNICEF, the optimal nutrition that a child receives in the first couple years of its life, are critical for their sound development.
In this article, we will explore the nuances of good Preschool Nutrition. We will take a look at how Nutrition Policies of Early Childhood Centres are vital in ensuring that children get their daily dose of nutrients. After all, our children are the very backbone of the future. It only becomes imperative, then, that Preschooler Nutrition is given every bit of the attention that it deserves.
Let’s begin, by taking a look at what a sound Preschool Nutrition encompasses.
Preschool Nutrition: What Preschoolers Should Eat
If you are looking to include ‘appropriate’ foods in your Preschooler’s diet, you might want to comply with the following ‘daily’ recommendations of the Indian Council Of Medical Research.
- Cereals (Rice, Whole Wheat Bread, Pasta).
- Milk and Dairy Products (Yoghurt, Paneer).
- Meat (Chicken, Fish) and Pulses (Lentils, Chickpeas).
- Fruits (Oranges, Apples) and Vegetables (Carrots, Spinach).
Servings: 5-6 portions.
Servings: 2-3 portions.
Servings: 1 small portion.
Servings: 3-4 portions.
Note: You don’t have to be all that stringent, where it comes to ‘portion sizes’. Your child might need less than the average amounts, or perhaps more.
Early Childhood Centres: Nutrition Policies
As touched upon in the introduction, one must ensure that the Preschool you send your child to, adheres strictly to the recommended Nutrition Policies.
Childhood Centres actually play a huge role in ensuring sound Preschooler Nutrition. They can help prevent a child falling prey to Obesity, simply by providing them regularly with a supply of Healthy snacks and Meals.
That being said, there is no Nutrition Policies List ‘carved in stone’, for the benefit of Childcare Centres. However, before sending your child to one, you should make sure that the place that you are sending them to, checks at least a majority of the following boxes.
- A focus on ‘whole’ grains. While not all snacks and meals can be whole-grain-based, there must be an effort to see more Whole Grains included in children’s diets.
- In the case of Veggies, Eat the Colours of the Rainbow. There’s a reason children are told to ‘Eat the Colours of the Rainbow.’ Simply because, it’s great for their Nutrition needs!
- Plenty of Fruit. Needless to say, it’s a lot easier to get kids to eat Fruits, rather than those Veggies we discussed above.
- A High amount of Calcium-Rich Foods. Ever wonder why children are told to drink plenty of milk? The answer is simple: Because it is packed with Calcium! In the previous section, we saw that Milk and Milk Products like Yoghurt and Cheese, form important components of that Preschooler Diet.
- Protein of the ‘lean’ variety. We all know that eating Protein is important, but our children should only be given ‘lean’ cuts of meat. This includes Poultry and Fish, too.
- Children are ‘nuts’ about nuts, so they should be well-incorporated into the diets of Preschoolers.
Example: More servings of Whole Wheat Bread and Brown Rice.
Example: There must be a healthy mix of those ‘Dark Greens’ (like Spinach and Broccoli), along with the Yellow and Orange Varieties (like Carrots and Sweet Potatoes).
Note: While Fruit Juice might be seen as a ‘yummier’ alternative to eating Whole Fruit, it is not as ‘healthy’. Eating whole fruit is better, because it is packed with invaluable ‘Fibre’, that helps keep children full for longer.
Note: When children are between 1 and 2 years of age, they need to be provided with ‘full-fat’ milk. This is so that they get plenty of that dietary fat’that is needed by their growing brains.
Note: If children are vegetarian, then some great alternatives to Meat would be Pinto Beans and Lentils, That will help them get all the Protein they need!
Note: Many children are allergic to several types of nuts, so their parents need to send a note to their Childcare Centre well in advance, regarding the same.
Preschool Nutrition: UNICEF Efforts
It would be worthwhile to take note of the following efforts of UNICEF, vis a vis those essential Nutritional Needs of Children.
UNICEF strongly champions Breastfeeding. It fights against all ‘marketing tactics’ that state that Breastfeeding is not the preferred method of choice, when it comes to feeding your baby. It even works alongside the WHO, to support investments in breastfeeding.
Providing Essential Deworming and Micronutrient Supplements
UNICEF finds its presence felt in areas that are characterized by diets that are low in Micronutrients. It does this, by providing Deworming and Vitamin supplements, to children under the age of 5 in these regions.
It works towards the creation and sustenance of Healthy Food Environments
One of the reasons UNICEF does such great work, lies in the fact that it works in tandem with governments, to create ‘healthier’ food environments. The following are some ways it achieves this:
- It steps up both the ‘affordability’ as well as ‘availability’of nutrient-dense foods.
- It helps prevent children from consuming junk food.
At EuroKids we believe that providing the right nutrition to kids in early childhood centres, is tantamount to ‘sacred.’ After all, a healthy diet not only means that your children will develop well, but also that they will be bestowed with high levels of immunity!