Well another year is here and one of the biggest New Year’s Resolution that is often quoted is “I am going to start eating better…”
You don’t have to wait until each January to start making that commitment, you can start today and take it one day at a time. As early childhood professionals, we make sure that the children in our care are receiving the appropriate meals and snacks based on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or our knowledge of what children should be eating.
The Meals/snack item in each of the Environment Rating Scales, located at indicator 3.2, is based on ensuring that children are given well-balanced, age appropriate, nutritional meals while they are in your care.
When the Program Quality Assessors observe in a classroom, teachers are encouraging children to eat that healthy food. We hear things like “Milk makes you strong; carrots are good for your eyes, vegetables are yummy.” There are times when teachers have to talk to parents upon arrival to inquire if that child in question ate breakfast before they came to school…. But….
What about you? Are you eating your breakfast before you start your day of work? Many teachers start their day without eating a nutritious meal. They may have a cup of coffee or a muffin or sometimes nothing at all. I am in contact with early childhood educators who have admitted to not eating in the morning because they are rushing with everything they must do and do not have time to eat. I have also been told that teachers, and administrators as well, do not take time to eat a healthy lunch or snack because there are so many things to do before nap is over.
Ladies and gentlemen of the early childhood world, eating healthy and at least three meals a day is very essential to not only you and your health but also to the children in your care. I am not sure if you have noticed, but children have more energy than we do as adults. Therefore, you need the proper food intake to keep up with them and maintain a good healthy life.
- Prepare a meal the night before so you can grab and go if you do not have time to make a breakfast. Example: granola cups with yogurt; fruit and a muffin; oatmeal etc.
- Prepare your lunch ahead of time. Example: choose one day a week to make your menu of what you want to take to work for lunch each day (salads, apples, wraps or sandwiches etc.)
- Look at your program’s posted meal menu to come up with ideas of what you can have for your breakfast and lunch.
- Create a healthy meal group at your program and share with each other healthy foods you can eat.
Eating healthy foods is very important but taking the time to eat those meals is important as well. Again, we encourage our children to eat healthy foods and ensure that they eat their meals. My question to you is…… Why aren’t you eating HEALTHY?