Meals, Nutrition & Healthy Eating Habits
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of early-childhood development, not only in terms of health, but also mental and motor development. Introducing children to healthy eating habits at an early age can be seen as a difficult task, as the common trope is that children are often picky eaters. At ChildRoots, we utilize a simple, communal approach to nutrition that not only helps our children develop long-lasting healthy eating habits but also learn mealtime behavior.
Our meal and nutrition program is based around organic, vegetarian, and nut-free foods. In our signature “Take 5” plan, each meal consists of a grain, bean, fresh fruit, vegetable, and dairy. We provide only fresh, roasted or steamed produce and use minimal seasoning on beans and grains. With children in the infant to 15-month range, we work with parents to develop positive feeding relationships and progress eating habits from formula or breast milk to solid foods. Our staff monitor a child’s progression through various food textures and offer a variety of flavors to encourage wider food acceptance. In addition to lunch, two snacks are served daily and appropriately timed to promote a habit of healthy snacking.
Not only are children introduced to healthy eating habits, but they also develop practices for successful mealtimes from infancy through toddlerhood. Instead of making mealtime a regimented activity, our staff entrust children with deciding if they would like to eat and how much. ChildRoots is considerate of cues and readiness around mealtime and illustrates the benefits of learning mealtime behavior.
ChildRoots also strives to create a positive, communal mealtime experience for the children in our program. Our “Take 5” foods are all served in separate, communal bowls to not only allow children to eat more of their favorite food but also to promote a social mealtime experience. Teachers sit and eat with children at every meal. For older infants and young toddlers, teachers ask that they sit while eating, keep food on the table, and only eat from their own plate. At the end of mealtime, children wash their hands and faces, and are encouraged to help clean the table and compost spilled food.