Nurs­ery nu­tri­tion

Good (UAE) - - THE GOOD LIFE -

Ask any teacher, they’ll tell you a good diet is im­per­a­tive to lit­tle ones’ suc­cess­ful learn­ing. Chan­tal Ariens, cen­tre di­rec­tor at Blos­som Burj, ex­plains how the kitchen can help your child get the best out of their time in class… Food is an im­por­tant part of our lives and, as the mum of a tod­dler, I know too well how hard it can be to get your child to eat healthy foods. Luck­ily, my daugh­ter is a good eater and when she is at Blos­som Nurs­ery she gets all the nu­tri­ents she needs through our Healthy Bites pro­gramme, which of­fers our pupils freshly cooked food on a daily ba­sis. Learn­ing how to eat all these dif­fer­ent foods, and eat­ing them to­gether with her friends, has helped her ex­plore her taste buds and try new things with­out hes­i­ta­tion while, as early child­hood ex­perts, we un­der­stand the im­por­tance of a bal­anced diet and ac­cu­rate, age ap­pro­pri­ate por­tion sizes.

In­ad­e­quate nu­tri­tion be­fore birth and in the first five years of life can se­ri­ously in­ter­fere with brain devel­op­ment and lead to neu­ro­log­i­cal and be­havioural dis­or­ders as well as learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. To pro­mote func­tion, the brain has to be suf­fi­ciently nour­ished with healthy foods and wa­ter, en­abling chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate and ex­cel more read­ily.

Healthy eat­ing habits should be en­cour­aged at home, as well as at nurs­ery or school, by pro­vid­ing chil­dren with smaller meals and snacks at three-to-four-hour in­ter­vals. Stud­ies show that an in­take of healthy glu­cose in­creases en­ergy and fo­cus in as lit­tle as 30 min­utes if chil­dren are suf­fer­ing from fa­tigue or stress.

At Blos­som, our chil­dren are aware of the need to eat healthily and this is also re­flected in our cur­ricu­lum and learn­ing goals. They are taught how to grow food in our gar­dens where we use com­post and be­gin to un­der­stand life cy­cles and the global feed­back loop, and while this is not the pri­mary source of the food pre­pared, it is a valu­able skill for chil­dren to learn and it is im­por­tant for Blos­som to pro­vide green spa­ces for chil­dren to ex­plore.

Since we are con­scious of our im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, our Healthy Bites pro­gramme uses lo­cal sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents when­ever pos­si­ble and our pop­u­lar Thai fish dish is made with cream dory in­stead of the over­fished ham­mour. Our meals please even the pick­i­est of eaters and help to build strong, healthy and re­spon­si­ble learn­ers. TOP TIPS

Try to have reg­u­lar meal and snack times each day.

Of­fer your tod­dler a healthy, var­ied diet from the four main food groups, served in ap­pro­pri­ate por­tion sizes. Sit down to­gether for fam­ily meals. In­volve your tod­dler, as much as is safe to do so, in food prepa­ra­tion and make meals as colour­ful, in­ter­est­ing and en­joy­able as pos­si­ble.

Of­fer small por­tions as some chil­dren find big por­tions off putting. They can al­ways have sec­ond help­ings.

Chil­dren’s food pref­er­ences vary from day to day so keep of­fer­ing your tod­dler new foods, along­side fa­mil­iar favourites.

En­cour­age your tod­dler to feed them­selves with fin­ger foods such as bread­sticks, bits of pitta bread, fin­gers of toast, veg­etable sticks, chopped up fruit, small sand­wiches, small sausages or fish fin­gers. Most tod­dlers can reg­u­late their own appetite so en­cour­age them to eat but do not force them or ex­pect them to eat if they are not hun­gry. Some tod­dlers are slow eaters so al­low plenty of time for them to eat.

AL­WAYS of­fer a drink with meal times. Wa­ter or full fat milk are good choices.

Blos­som Nurs­eries have six cen­tres through­out the UAE and are ac­cept­ing reg­is­tra­tions now. For more in­for­ma­tion, to ar­range a visit or to re­serve your place, call 055 NURS­ERY or visit the­blos­som­nurs­ery.com

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