Establishing healthy eating patterns early in a child’s life is central to their health and wellbeing, both now and into the future. Early childhood educators have an important role to play in promoting and supporting healthy eating. However, this can be a challenging task when dealing with ‘fussy’ eating. And it’s not uncommon.
The Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) has developed new healthy curriculum activity resources to provide educators with advice on simple, fun and educational ways to overcome fussy eating and get kids interested in new foods. It is developmentally normal for young children to be fussy or uncertain with new foods. In fact, up to 50% of all 0-3 year old children refuse to eat new and different foods at least half the time. To complement the new resources, HEAS has also developed a series of bite-size 'How-to’ videos. In each one, early years nutrition expert, Amy, provides simple and practical ideas on introducing new foods in key areas like play, science and mealtimes.
The advice is linked to the National Quality Framework and Early Years Learning Framework and incorporates using unfamiliar foods in different and non-food ways such as science and play. These activities can help to normalise healthy foods and result in children being more likely to try new foods at mealtimes. For example, educators might read children a book that features vegetables, bake healthy carrot muffins with them or even set up a play produce shop. Ensuring mealtimes are relaxed and set up appropriately and that educators role model healthy eating is also important, as is encouraging families to reinforce healthy eating messaging at home.
Encourage children to try new healthy foods in fun and creative ways today with these new resources from HEAS.