A balanced diet is important for everyone, but healthy eating in Early Years is particularly vital. Child obesity is on the rise in Britain; recent figures suggest that over a fifth of 4- to 5-year-olds are overweight or obese, so healthy eating needs to be a major priority to protect the health of our youngest generations. But sticking to a healthy diet can be tough with hectic daily lives and so much junk food on offer. We take a look at how to make healthy eating an easy, essential part of your child’s life and how Toad Hall is leading the market with national recognition for our work providing healthy and nutritious food for our children.
Why healthy eating in Early Years is so important
The food that your child eats during their early years will lay foundations for their eating patterns and habits later in life. The nutritional requirements for children are different to adults – children need lots of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to help them develop and grow. These are some of the main benefits of healthy eating for children:
- It helps children to grow and develop to the best of their ability
- It builds core strength and helps children fight illness and infection
- It improves concentration and helps children to learn
- It keeps children physically active and able to play and explore
- It establishes healthy eating habits for the rest of their lives
It’s never too late to start healthy eating at home
If you haven’t been able to prioritise healthy eating at home, don’t worry – it’s never too late to start. Focus on the essentials of a healthy diet and try to remember to give your child 5 pieces of fruit or vegetables every day. All types of fruit and vegetables, including juiced, canned, dried, frozen and fresh all count. Encourage your child to drink water rather than fizzy drinks and include plenty of dairy and protein. Opt for breadsticks or grapes rather than sugary snacks.
Healthy meals don’t need to be time-consuming. Try natural yoghurt or baked beans on wholemeal toast for breakfast, pasta salads or wholemeal wraps for lunch and stir-fry, jacket potatoes or grilled salmon for dinner. Toad Hall has a fantastic recipe book for parents with lots of ideas for healthy eating throughout the year.
How does Toad Hall promote healthy eating in early years?
At Toad Hall we have an absolute commitment to healthy eating in our nurseries. We work with nutritional expert and dietician Judy More to create healthy and nutritious meals and all of our menus meet the voluntary “Eat Better – Start Better” guidelines. We are also proud to be the first nursery group to receive the Children’s Food Trust seal of approval as well as the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association.
We want to work in partnership with parents to support healthy eating in early years. As a parent you can rest assured that your child will be given high quality, nutritious and healthy food to support their development and growth.