The importance of a healthy diet
- April 7, 2021
- Posted by: LIFE International School
- Category: Parenting tips
A child who begins at a young age to eat a healthy diet will benefit both cognitively and emotionally. Healthy eating habits and nutrition instruction are both important parts of a child’s education and wellbeing. As such, LIFE is committed to working together with parents to ensure that all children are served healthy meals and snacks every day.
It is not enough to prepare a healthy menu; the child must also learn to eat a variety of nutritious foods in order to support healthy growth and development. LIFE School offers a balanced menu which includes familiar foods while also presenting new child friendly food combinations that encourage children to grow their appetite for a variety of foods.
To provide the best possible nutrition for the children in our care, every week the menu includes a variety of whole grains, vegetables, healthy proteins, foods rich in Omega 3, and fresh fruit. The meals are homemade on site. Fried and processed foods and sweets are rarely served on the menu. Parents are asked to provide healthy snacks, also avoiding sweets and salty junk food.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables are served daily, and are prepared in various forms to help increase interest in eating them. Vegetables are steamed, boiled, roasted, or lightly stir-fried with little added fat. Fried or pre-fried potatoes are avoided.
Fruits are generally served fresh, three times a week, and when it is canned, it is packaged in its own juice (no syrups).
Meats and Fats
A variety of lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs are served each week. Any visible fat on meat, such as stew meat, is removed
High fat meats like sausage, bacon, hot dogs, or bologna are mostly avoided.
Breaded fish (fish sticks) or meat are limited to once a month and are prepared in the oven rather than fried.
Bread, Cereal, Pasta, Rice
A variety of grains are served each week.
High fiber, whole grain foods are encouraged often.
Beverages and Dairy products
Drinking water is available and children are encouraged to drink it throughout the day.
Fresh milk and cheese are incorporated into meals, and yogurt is generally served two times a week.
Soda or other vending machines are not available.
Portion sizes begin with a small amount of each menu item. After children eat what is served to them, they may ask for more of the foods they choose. It is understood that everyone has preferences, but learning to eat a variety of healthy foods is encouraged by guiding children to try foods that they do not prefer. For new foods or vegetables that a child does not want to eat, they will be asked to only taste the food – often they discover they like it. As they get used to eating, they are served larger portions.
Parents provide the daily snack; guidelines are given to encourage snacks that offer a healthy contribution to the daily meal plan.
Parents may request to provide snacks for the class on their child’s birthday. They may bring in a birthday cake or cupcakes to supplement the usual healthy snack, or they may offer to provide healthy snacks for the whole class.
Supporting Healthy Eating
Staff join children at the table for mealtimes.
Staff often talk informally with the children about trying and enjoying healthy foods.