Healthy Eating at Sunny Days
Research shows that childhood diets can have a huge impact on long term health and fitness, so encouraging children to eat well from an early age is very vital. This is from the Healthy Food for Young Children book and is part of the training that the staff completed this past fall. In addition to having this book as a resource we also took part in a healthy eating training. The training discussed the variety of factors in behavior. As parents, most of us have seen our child after a "dose" of sugar substance food. It can make the child extremely high energy to the point of hyperactive. Some would argue that it is the dye and chemicals in foods and not just the sugar. However, whichever it is-both should be consumed in moderation and certainly not on a daily basis for small children. The state guidelines have also been updated to include requirements about healthy eating which includes portion size and nutritional values for food.
In accordance with the above guidelines we will be asking all parents to help us in this healthy eating effort at Sunny Days. We are asking parents to please send in healthy foods for your child. We understand that children can be picky eaters, we're not asking parents to spend hours preparing food, but we are asking you to consider the healthier options when buying and packing your child's lunch/snacks. The key is about balance and variety when planning and preparing your child's meals. Sending in the same thing day after day will result in your child not wanting it (even though the bulk items are a great deal ... they do get sick of it after awhile).
For example, studies have shown that behavior and concentration levels are markedly higher in children who have eaten a healthy breakfast (this can include oatmeal, bananas, cereal bars... not sugary pop tarts). We find that sometimes children start the day on a "sugar rush" and crash by the time we are starting our circle time... a healthier breakfast can make a difference for a child. The nutritional guidelines are that children should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
If you are struggling with what to send in for your child - their teacher can be your greatest resource. They have all been trained in a book sense on what is healthy, but more importantly they know what the majority of children will eat at that particular age - I encourage you to seek out your child's teacher and ask what types of food to send in - I guarantee they will have suggestions for you. In addition, please do not be offended if you find a helpful list in your lunchbox of healthier options for your child. If we do notice "hyper" behavior after a particularly sugary snack we will begin to not offer that as an option for your child throughout the day.
Thank you for your cooperation!