Eating is an essential aspect of a child’s growth and development. It is important that children from a young age are offered nutritionally-balanced meals that are thoughtfully prepared and presented to nurture their wellbeing.
However, healthy eating does not come naturally for a lot of young children. Those in nursery classes, particularly, can be quite picky with food. It’s not uncommon to see many of them eating the same food for lunch every day. And, a lot of parents say that they prepare the same school lunches just to ensure that their little ones actually eat. There is nothing to feel bad about this as it is a common struggle for a lot of parents.
A strong preference for constantly eating the same foods pose serious health issues. For instance, eating canned beans continuously for several consecutive days can lead to discomfort and constipation. Not only that, young children can become prone to growth gap because they miss out on different essential nutrients.
This is why at Child’s Play Nursery, we do our utmost best to encourage healthy eating among our students. We educate both teachers and parents, so meals are not only the high points of the children’s day but also the perfect opportunity to create a positive connection with the children.
Clever Tactics to Get Kids to Eat Healthily
In this blog article, we are sharing with you six effective tactics to implement if your child is a picky eater:
1. Have adults eat with the little ones
Children look up to the significant adults in their life. Therefore, it helps tremendously to get them to eat what’s good for them when their teachers and parents join them for a meal.
In some schools, the principal joins the students for their school lunch. Children say it brings more enjoyment to the meal. Just seeing an important figure eating the same thing creates a feeling of closeness.
2. Make food preferences a treat instead of a daily meal
School nutritionists say variating menus is crucial in preventing children’s strong insistence in having the same meals over and over again due to personal preferences. Therefore, parents should learn not to yield to frequent requests for the same ingredients or recipes.
Instead, it could be a good idea to make food preferences a treat that your child looks forward to. You could also use your child’s favourite food in a way to positively reinforce your child’s decision to eat whatever is presented to them, leading to the scheduled day for the favourite food to be served.
3. Use seasonal flavours to bring excitement to meals
One of the best advantages of using seasonal ingredients is that it provides pre-schoolers with the opportunity to experience food at its best quality and finest flavours. This is not all, though.
It also allows teachers to sneak in valuable lessons such as the nutritional value of seasonally popular ingredients, how fruits and vegetables are grown on farms, and the different ways they are cooked. For example, an autumn harvest’s star is the pumpkin. Teachers can share how pumpkin can be made into a hearty soup, a sweet pie, chips, and how the seeds can be roasted into snacks.
4. Use meals as opportunities to teach
As mentioned above, teachers can share essential lessons during snack and lunch time. Etiquette, for instance, is an appropriate lesson to impart. It is also important that children are taught gratitude for having something nourishing to eat.
These lessons can bring interest to each meal. And, a lot of children become quite willing to try a dish that they are unfamiliar with when it’s presented in a way that increases their understanding about the world around them.
5. Bring creativity to meals
Learn the beautiful art of bento-making and turn nutritious ingredients into pre-schoolers’ favourite cartoon characters or animals. A study in Japan shows that children whose parents prepare fun bento boxes for them tend to be more adventurous eaters. They are willing to try unfamiliar ingredients, which allows them to discover new flavours that they like.
The artistry involved in creating Japanese lunch boxes may seem intimidating. But, there are easy-to-follow tutorials online, and Japanese 100 yen stores scattered all over Dubai sell tools for bento-making.
6. Get the kids involved in the preparation process
It is quite beneficial to take the preschoolers along when shopping for ingredients at the grocer. Adults can show them the real-life versions of fruits and vegetables they learn about in class. Likewise, it can make the little ones interested in trying certain ingredients.
Get them involved in the preparation process, such as selecting the ripest tomatoes to be used in the pasta sauce you’ll be cooking. Not only will it be an educational experience for them, but their contribution will also give them a sense of pride. And, this pride can prompt them to eat something they have never tried before and maybe even encourage their peers to do the same.
A Source of Nourishment
Although eating is an activity that everybody does, making sure that it is a real source of nourishment and sustenance, especially for pre-schoolers, requires thoughtful dedication.
As one of the top nursery schools in Dubai, we, at Child’s Play Nursery, are committed to ensuring all children have the best start in life. This is why we spare no effort in providing information on the elements essential to children’s development, and these include nutrition.
If you are looking for a nursery for your toddler or pre-schooler and would like to know what makes Child’s Play Nursery unique, leave us an email or give us a call.