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Eat Right, Grow Strong Nutrition for Young Children

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Presentation on theme: "Eat Right, Grow Strong Nutrition for Young Children"— Presentation transcript:

1 Eat Right, Grow Strong Nutrition for Young Children
Welcome and Introductions. Possibly do a quick activity such as stretching. This workshop focuses on preventing childhood overweight through promoting healthy eating in child care.

2 Objectives At the end of this workshop participants will be able to…
Describe why good nutrition is so important to young children. Explain in detail the components of a child care environment that promote healthy eating. Describe the role of child care staff in helping shape children’s eating behaviors. List some things staff can do in their classroom to help children develop healthy eating behaviors. Workshop objectives: At the end of this workshop participants will be able to… Describe why good nutrition is so important to young children. Explain in detail the components of a child care environment that promote healthy eating. Describe the role of child care staff in helping shape children’s eating behaviors. List some things staff can do in their classroom to help children develop healthy eating behaviors.

3 Let’s Review More than 1 in 4 preschoolers are overweight or obese
Being overweight is a risk to physical and mental health Poor nutrition contributes to weight gain Child care providers can help keep children healthy As we’ve talked about, there are many factors involved in how much we weigh. One of those factors is poor nutriiton, which is what we will discuss today. Some reasons why obesity in young children is on the rise is because of limited intake of fruits and vegetables, too much intake of sugary beverages and fast food, predominance of convenience foods, lack of family meals.

4 Nutrition Young children need to eat nutritious foods because their bodies are growing rapidly. Children may receive between 50% and 75% of their daily calories at the child care facility or school setting. Children learn healthy (or unhealthy) eating habits at a very young age. To combat the epidemic of childhood overweight, all of us will need to take some responsibility for helping children to eat a better and develop good habits. It’s harder to break a bad habit than to develop a good one from the beginning.

5 Have they changed over time?
Discussion What have you noticed about the eating habits of children in your school or center? Have they changed over time? How much do the children seem to know about good nutrition? What misconceptions do they have? Do you think parents are paying more or less attention to healthy eating than they used to? How willing are children to eat vegetables and fruits?

6 What does all this mean for Child Care Providers?
Providers have an important influence on children’s eating habits: The development of early eating habits and attitudes Children look up to their teachers and often “model” their own eating habits based on watching others. Providers can make changes to create a better “food environment” so it’s easier for children and staff to make healthier choices. Parents and families have the major responsibility for a child’s eating habits, but child care centers can play a very important role. Children are often more likely to try new foods and eat a variety of foods when they are AWAY from home. Remember that a child’s teacher is a very important person in his/her life, and the child will look to you as a role model. Centers can help children learn about different eating environments. Its easier to make healthy choices when those are the only options!

7 Fruits and Vegetables A variety of fruits and vegetables give children vitamins and minerals that keep them healthy and help them grow. Fruits and vegetables are “nutrient dense” – lots of nutrients but few calories, unless too much butter, cheese, or meat fat is added. 100% fruit and vegetable juices are good but less nutritious and filling than the foods themselves. Children should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They are a great way to make sure that children eat all the vitamins they need without adding a lot of extra calories that could lead to weight gain. Fruits and vegetables that are dark or bright in color (oranges, red peppers, dark green lettuce, etc) have the most nutrients in them, or are the most “nutrient dense.” Try serving fruits and vegetables without adding ranch dressing, butter, lard, sugar, or other sauces. These not only add calories and fat, but also mask the taste of the fruit/vegetable so the child never learns what it should taste like by itself. It is easy to “drink” a lot of calories without knowing it. 100% juice contains vitamins but the whole fruit has even more and also tends to be more filling. You also get more fiber when you eat the fruit.

8 Make eating fruits and vegetables fun!
Ways to get kids to LOVE their fruits and vegetables (or at least try them!)… Serve them creatively. Have a party for your senses. Incorporate them into lessons by trying fruits and vegetables from different places around the world. Set a good example. Most of us grew up thinking of fruits and vegetables as the green things on our plate that we had to eat before we got dessert. Lets break this thinking pattern by making fruits and vegetables more appealing to children. Serve them creatively. Let kids make their own “ants on a log” for snacks by spreading a thin layer of peanut butter on celery and putting raisins on it. Make it a game. See how many colors you can eat in one meal. Make faces with cut up cucumbers and zucchini (eyes, nose), carrots (hair), and apple slices (mouths). Have a party for your senses. Let kids use all of their senses to discover and sample different fruits and vegetables. Together, look at, smell, touch, listen to the crunch, and taste different fruits and vegetables. Try new and unusual fruits from different places. Eat fruits and vegetables in front of the children and comment about how good they taste. Kids learn eating habits by example! Remember that some children need to be introduced to a food at least 10 times before they will try it! Don’t give up!

9 Meats and Fats Most sausage, bacon, and hot dogs have a lot of fat, sodium, and calories, so consuming too much can lead to future health problems. Look for lower fat baked options and serve the high fat versions less often. French fries and chicken nuggets are also high in saturated fat and calories. Kids will also enjoy lower fat foods like baked potatoes and baked chicken. Consider occasionally replacing meat with beans for a low fat option with lots of fiber and protein. Fried foods like chicken nuggets and french fries are usually big favorites with kids. Try to find lower fat baked versions of these foods or serve them less often. Discussion: What are methods of preparation that the center can use that are healthier than frying? (baking, broiling, steaming, etc) What are some other foods that the center could start serving that might be healthier than those served now? What are some barriers/benefits that you see in making these changes? REMEMBER some children need to be introduced to a new food 10 times before accepting it!

10 Grains and Sugars Fiber aids digestion and helps children feel full. Try and incorporate high-fiber whole grain foods at least once every day. Sugary and salty foods have a lot of “empty” calories—they are often high in fat and calories but have little nutritional value Serve these only occasionally. Breakfast and snacks are often where providers could serve more whole grains. These are often the meals where high sugar items are served as well. Whole grain examples: Oatmeal Whole wheat or rye bread Brown rice Whole wheat pasta Cereals – Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Wheat Chex, Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes, low-fat granola High sugar/fat breakfast and snack examples: Muffins/biscuits Cereal/breakfast bars Poptarts/Honey Buns Cookies

11 Discussion How would you makeover these breakfast and snack items to incorporate whole grains? Muffins Frosted flakes Breakfast cereal bar Cookies Poptart Chips Have the group brainstorm whole-grain, high fiber replacements for these high sugar/high fat breakfast foods. Options include: Instead of muffins – whole wheat English muffin, whole wheat toast, whole wheat mini-bagel, all with PB or low-fat cream cheese Instead of sugary cereal - Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Wheat Chex, Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes, low-fat granola, oatmeal Instead of a breakfast bar – tortilla roll-up (spread cream cheese or PB and jelly on a tortilla and roll it up), low-fat/high fiber granola bar Cookies – graham crackers, whole wheat crackers Poptarts – whole grain waffle or pancake, Chips – whole grain pretzels, homemade chex mix with pretzels, wheat chex, cheerios…,  a whole grain tortilla with a bean dip spread

12 Beverages Water is the best choice for thirsty children. Model good habits for the children by choosing water first. Soda and fruit drinks are full of sugar and “empty calories” (few nutrients, many calories). Serving low fat milk with meals and snacks provides calcium but doesn’t add many calories. One of the best things you can do for a child’s nutritional health is to help them get used to the idea that water is the best thirst quencher and a great beverage. Studies show that children who drink more soft drinks are more likely to be overweight. Be a good role model and show children that you enjoy drinking water because it is refreshing. 1% and skim milk have much lower amounts of fat and almost half the calories of whole milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1% and skim milk for all children over age 2. CACFP will reimburse ANY type of fluid milk for children over 2

13 Beverage Myths Myth 1: Whole milk is best for all kids
Under 1: breast milk or formula 1 to 2: Whole milk Over 2: 1% or skim milk Myth 2: Juice is always the best option Whole fruits have more nutrients Under 6: 4-6 oz. a day of 100% juice Not a good choice to quench thirst Show of hands: How many of you have been told this?

14 Menus and Variety Serving a variety of foods helps to meet a child’s nutrition needs. Cycle menus of 3 weeks or longer may help provide variety. Children may need to see a new food at least 10 times before they’ll actually try it. Don’t give up! Including food in your menus from a variety of cultures can make meals more fun and interesting for children. Variety may be the spice of life, but children don’t always agree. If you let them, some children will eat the same foods every day. On the other hand, they can’t learn to eat new foods unless they have the opportunity. You’d be surprised how children will suddenly try something after refusing it in the past. Keep trying! Sometimes kids are more willing to try a new food if it comes from another culture and is presented as something new and exciting. What is the variety of meals and snacks like at your center? Are there any easy ways to offer unique or new foods?

15 Feeding Practices Gently encourage, but don’t force children to try a bite of a new food. Forcing children to clean their plates can lead to overeating and weight problems. Offer healthy foods to children and then let them decide if and how much to eat. How many of you have eaten until you were stuffed? Who has eaten when you weren’t hungry? This is something that we do when we’re adults, but research shows that children don’t do this without being forced. Babies are born with a sense to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Young children also have this internal regulation (signal). Losing or over riding this signal can lead to overeating and weight problems. It is hard not to pressure a child who isn’t eating much to eat more, but it is important to let kids listen to their own bodies. CHILDREN WILL EAT IF THEY ARE HUNGRY! It is also really important not to force children to eat or “clean their plates.” Even encouraging children to make a “happy plate” or praising children who do, can teach children to override those signals of hunger and fullness, possibly leading to overeating and weight problems later in life. Together, we should offer children healthy foods and limit unhealthy ones. By offering only healthy foods, we are guaranteeing that the children make healthy choices in what they eat. It’s the child’s job to decide what and how much to eat!

16 Feeding Practices Make meal and snack time as stress free as possible and try to provide enough time to eat. Try to avoid using food to reward good behavior or make a child feel better about something. Try to schedule the day so that children don’t have to rush though their meal. Use the meal as a time to talk about things that interest the children so that they associate eating healthy foods with happy times. It is very tempting to reward children for good behavior or help help them feel better about a hurt or disappointment by giving them a food they consider to be a treat. This might “work” for the short term, but it encourages habits that are very hard to break later in life, where we eat to reward ourselves or “soothe” our hurts. Try using stickers, pencils, or compliments as a reward instead of food.

17 Discussion These recommendations are great but how can we put them into practice? Let’s go over some possible scenarios. How can we help children avoid developing unhealthy habits? Scenario 1: You notice that Jose is pushing his food around on his plate, but isn’t really eating anything. What do you do? (Possible answer: Ask Jose if he feels full but don’t pressure him into eating) Scenario 2: Maya has already had 2 servings of bread and asks for another one. What do you do? (Possible answer: Ask Maya if she is still hungry. This will help her assess if she is eating out of hunger or habit.) Scenario 3: Steven quickly eats his French fries and asks for some more before having eaten any of the other food on his plate. What do you do? (Possible answer: Encourage to Steven to try the other foods on his plate before giving him more French fries, but don’t refuse him more French fries even if he doesn’t want anything else.) Remember that adults decide which foods to OFFER to children, and children decide which foods to eat and how much.

18 Foods Offered Outside of Regular Meals and Snacks
Ask parents to help celebrate birthdays, and holidays with healthier options than candy, cake, and ice cream. Healthier sweets like fruit, popsicles, and low-fat muffins are great alternatives. If your facility has fundraisers, consider campaigns that involve healthier foods or non-food items. This sends a message that you care about good health. It takes one small step at a time to change the way we think about food. It may seem like a small step, but if we could all get used to the idea that celebration foods can also be healthy foods, we’d be moving in the right direction. Don’t tempt the staff and parents by selling candy or cookies. Try selling wrapping paper, fruit, or coupon books for fundraisers instead. Scenario 4: It’s Jimmy’s birthday and his mom asks if she can bring in cupcakes. What do you tell her? (Possible answer: Encourage Jimmy’s mother to bring in a healthier birthday snack. Examples: low fat muffins, fruit with low fat dip; Encourage parents to bring in hats and fun plates or maybe do a craft with the children to celebrate)

19 Supporting Healthy Eating
If possible, serve meals family-style where teachers join the children at the table. Teachers can show that healthy eating is fun by modeling healthy choices and helping to create a pleasant social environment around the table. Soda machines in your facility send the message that soda is OK, and make it harder for staff and children to choose healthier options Family style meals are a good way for children to begin to learn table manners and how to serve themselves, which encourages development of certain fine motor skills. Use mealtime to discuss things that interest the children and as a time for informal nutrition education. If you have a soda machine at your center, consider stocking it with healthier options like juice or water. Having a soda machine may bring in extra money for your center, but it is not helping you promote good health. You can negotiate with your vendor to include healthier options. Let’s brainstorm: What are some ways that we can interact with children to model healthy eating at the center? (May want to reward answers with stickers or pencils) Possible answers: Staff try all foods and talk about how they like them and how everyone likes different foods. Staff talk about the different colors and textures on the plate

20 Things to Remember Children will eat!
They are capable of regulating their food intake. They generally react negatively to new foods, but will usually accept them with time and experience. Caregivers can either support or disrupt children’s food acceptance and regulation.

21 Nutrition Activity Child care providers are role models for healthy eating. How can you be a good role model for the children? Activity: See “Are you a good role model?” handout. Complete and then discuss.

22 Nutrition Education for Staff, Children, and Parents
If children hear the same health messages from parents and from child care providers, they’re more likely to listen. There are several curricula available to help staff incorporate nutrition education into lesson plans Look for opportunities to provide nutrition education for staff and earn continuing education credits at the same time. Parents may be more supportive if they understand that you are working hard to create a healthy environment for their children. Everyone needs CE credits! Why not use nutrition training as a way to get them?

23 Nutrition education activities for children
Preschoolers can cook and learn!! What they can do Measure, stir, beat Peel, cut, grate Hot vs. cold Compare quantities Set the table What they can learn Fine motor skills Follow directions Observing Enhance social skills Sorting, classifying skills Introduce foods in a fun and educational way! Develops many skills, not just nutrition

24 Nutrition Policy A written policy on food and nutrition:
Tells parents and staff that these are important issues and that you care about the health of the children in your facility. Helps guide decisions and choices your facility makes every day. Makes it easier to explain your approach to parents and staff. There is a lot of interest in nutrition these days, especially with the epidemic of childhood overweight. Parents who are deciding on the best child care environment for their child may be very interested to learn that your facility has a specific policy on food and nutrition. By sharing your policy with parents in advance, they will be less likely to complain about why “Johnny doesn’t get french fries more often!”

25 Food Program guidelines
Guidelines may be confusing Talk to your CACFP representative A variety of foods meet guidelines, both healthy and unhealthy choices

26 How to Make a Healthy Lunch
What is the difference? Healthy Baked, skinless chicken breast Steamed carrots Fresh strawberries Whole wheat dinner roll Skim milk Unhealthy Chicken nuggets Tator tots Canned fruit cocktail in heavy syrup Slice of white bread Whole milk Have staff discuss what they see the differences to be: Calories Fat content Color (which equals nutrients) Sugar Fiber

27 What changes can you make in your classroom?
Nutrition Activity What changes can you make in your classroom? As a concluding activity, have staff brainstorm 3 things they can change in their classroom immediately

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