Having been a nursery practitioner for 3 years and then a nanny for 5 years, I know the struggle of trying to get enough fruit and veg into a child’s diet. Honey Bees Day Care have some great tips for those of you who might have a more ‘selective’ eater in your household.
Happy eating: experimenting with yummy foods
How your child eats today can have a huge impact on their health, food preferences and dietary habits throughout later life. The earlier you begin teaching them healthy eating patterns, the more likely they’ll be to take these good habits with them into adolescence and adulthood.
Healthy eating has many benefits for children, such as stabilising their energy, evening out their moods and preventing illnesses. A balanced diet will also ensure your child gets the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need for growth and mental development.To get all these nutrients, it is important your littles ones start experimenting with a wide variety of foods from an early age. These foods should include lots of fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, lean meat, oily fish, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as brown rice and bread.
How can I encourage my child to try different foods?
The best way to get your little ones to experiment with food is, first and foremost, to make it fun! By getting creative in the kitchen, you can let your child experiment with the different flavours and textures of food. For example, by cutting it into funny shapes and getting them stuck into the food-making process.
It’s crucial to try and put as many different colours of food on your child’s plate as possible to ensure they get a variety of nutrients. To get your child to give everything on the plate a go, you could try turning it into a game. Can they name a food which is this colour? What colour would we get if we mixed a blueberry with a banana? How many different colours have they eaten this week?
Children also love to be involved in decision making, so why not let them choose what they want for their meal from a select group of foods? You could even get them involved in the weekly food shop — where they can make healthy food choices themselves, as well as learn about where different foods come from and why they are good for you.
Leading by example is another great way to show your child how enjoyable trying different foods can be. Children learn eating habits through observation, meaning they are more likely to eat healthy foods when they see parents, friends and older sisters or brothers enjoying them.
What can I do if my child won’t try different foods?
When it comes to children, nothing is ever simple. Despite all of our best intentions, they often have a mind of their own and can be surprisingly stubborn if they don’t want to do (or eat) something!
First of all, don’t worry: the majority of children go through phases with their eating, and their habits will often change over time. One day they won’t even touch tomatoes; two weeks later, they’ll want them in everything.
Just don’t put pressure on them to eat something if they really don’t want to — you don’t want them to develop a feeling of negativity towards particular foods. For the same reason, it is also not a good idea to group foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories. So, rather than cutting out sugary sweets or salty snacks altogether, just include them in moderation.
Many families today have busy schedules. Parents have less and less time to prepare fresh, healthy food — meaning it can be challenging to sit down to homemade meals every day.
At Honey Bees Day Care, our mission is to feed your little ones delicious home-cooked food that is nutritional, well-balanced and locally sourced where possible.
Our menu offers a wide range of yummy options — from breakfast and lunch to snacks and dessert. We also cater for all of the 14 food allergens.
Take a look at a sample of our weekly menu here.
07493 427 881
Honey Bee Cottage, Main Road, Bentley, Farnham, GU10 5JA