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Since the growth and development of children is more rapid during the first few years of life that at any other time, the child’s home and the facility together should provide food adequate in among and kind to meet the metabolic, growth and energy needs of each child.
Meals and snacks provide opportunities for observation and conversation which aids in cognitive, sensory, and language development of children
Meals offered to young children should provide a variety of nourishing foods on a frequent basis to meet the nutritional needs of young children.
A child with “un-typical” body size, diseases, or poor nutrition may require modification of feeding practices. This modification should be directed by a health-care provider, and follow data gathered from growth charts and probability samples…
Young children need frequently offered, nutritious meals as they may choose to eat well at any one time, but may be uninterested in eating at another time.
To ensure that the child’s daily nutritional needs are met, small feedings of nourishing food should be scheduled over the course of the day. Snacks should be nutritious as they are often a significant part of a child’s daily life.
Note that caloric needs vary greatly from one child to another. More intake may be required during growth spurts.
Children who are in care for more than 9 hours require additional food. This period represents a majority of the waking hours of a young child.
This would include at least 2 meals and at least 2 snacks– or 3 nutritional snacks and a meal
Staff should provide an example to children by eating the same foods as well as discussing the food being eaten as part of nutrition education for the children.
There is a relationship between food eaten and tooth decay that many parents need to understand and accept.
Snacks that have high sugar content or that are sticky should be avoided… only full-strength 100% fruit juice should be served
A minimum of one serving of a fruit, vegetable, or juice high in vitamin C must be provided daily, and a food high in vitamin A must be served at least three times a week. Foods that are good sources of iron need to be served daily.
** Make sure to mark these vitamins on your menu!
Children need to be offered food at intervals not less than 2 hours, and not more than 3 hours apart (unless the child is asleep).
Complete this online dietary and physical activity assessment tool that provides information on your diet quality, physical activity status, related nutrition messages, and links to nutrient and physical activity information
Locate information on food guide pyramids from various cultures including Latino/Spanish, Native American and Asian.
Also find information on the Mediterranean diet pyramids.