Blog - Nursery Talk
The Food Boss
Hi I’m Kate. Registered associate nutritionist, amateur cook, running enthusiast and mum.
Being a parent, means not only can I apply the science of nutrition to children’s meals and eating habits but that I also have the experience of when it just doesn’t work. I get it. I’ve been there when the meals go on the floor, when noses get turned up and when food refusal is real. Educating children on how to eat is certainly time consuming and whilst it can be fun, it can also test your patience.
Nurseries provide our children with days full of social interaction, cognitive learning, being physically active and developing all the skills they need to grow. And one of those skills is eating. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance they receive a wide variety of foods, tastes, textures and colours.
The importance of nutrition for children is something that’s drummed into us as parents. But it can be overcomplicated when it just doesn’t need to be. We are often bombarded with too much advice about what our children need, so much so that we end up scared and unsure if we are doing it right at all. One of the key things we can do is to provide consistent exposure to a variety of food with different tastes, textures and colours to support the development of our little one’s palates. And this is also something that is carried through at Boys & Girls Nursery with menus meeting the Eat Better Start Better guidelines.
Being active means our children need a constant supply of carbohydrates as their main energy source. These are provided across all three meals and snacks throughout the nursery day ensuring that energy levels remain high. Working with Boys & Girls Nursery, we have developed a menu that includes lean sources of meat with a vegetarian protein option included at all main meals to support muscle development and growth and water and milk is offered throughout the day to ensure the children are adequately hydrated to support their concentration and focus.
Added sugar is extremely limited as at such a young age is not a vital nutrient and if consumed in large quantities can be detrimental to dental health. However, two things which are included as often as possible are fruit and veggies. Not only are they colourful and full of nutrients but they are packed with fibre, something that supports a healthy digestive system yet is under consumed in both children and adults across the UK.
As I’ve already mentioned food variety is key in promoting a healthy digestive system so I wanted to leave you with some of my favourite ways to increase your variety whilst at home too:
- grating vegetables into dishes such as pasta, omelettes and porridge
- using tinned tomatoes as a base for meals
- doing a 50/50 mix of pasta and beans for a pasta bake
- experimenting with different options such as soy yoghurt instead of dairy
- try choosing one ingredient per week/fortnight you’ve never cooked with, or getting older children to choose something
It won’t always work, many things won’t be liked but you may surprise yourself too.