Fall is here and it is an exciting time to get the children outdoors and active. With the weather on the mild side, I suggest heading to the farmers market, pumpkin patch or even a nice walk to the park. Halloween is also not far away and with all the treats, I have some food for thought.
Recently, I took an online refresher course in Child Nutrition at Stanford University. This inspired the theme for October at Futurekids, a daycare in coquitlam, ‘Nutrition and Our Bodies.’ I thought, what better time to introduce this topic to our daycare children then at a time of fall harvest and Halloween treats.
We all hear how foods high in salt, sugar, fat and chemical additives can cause serious health issues (diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) and can also result in psychological problems (from bullying, lack of involvement in sports, etc.)
Dr. Maya Adams briefed her students on this and talked about the challenges parents have to offer healthy choices to their children. Not only time is an issue but the likes and dislikes of the children pose a challenge. She also talked about the huge marketing campaign of food companies all over North America that target the very young to be loyal consumers of processed food.
What I took away from this course was the little things that I want to convey to all parents, not just the children attending our burnaby daycare.
- Involve your children in planning and cooking meals.
- Include a rainbow of colours on a plate.
- Set small plates at meals. Studies have shown that larger plates can influence how much people eat.
- Try to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets. The nutrition value is much lower in store bought produce.
- Try to buy free range meats as they do not contain antibiotics, hormones or arsenic-based additives. Also, studies have shown that caged chicken display observable emotional behaviour and diseases due to overcrowding.
In addition, I wanted to include some suggestions for healthy snack ideas for Halloween time.
Ghost Bananas / Pumpkin Oranges/ Cheese Brooms
Looking forward to the wonderful feedback and thoughts.