We are foodies! We love food and will try just about anything once. We thus want to provide opportunities for children to try new foods in a positive way. Our meal program is designed to include a variety of foods, colors, textures and flavor profiles. Some foods will be new to children and some are considered kid friendly favorites. We do though feel that not all food needs to be 100% organic nor do we feel that sweets from time to time are not beneficial. Moderation and balance is they key. We also feel including food in our lesson plans can make it more enjoyable.
WHAT WE OFFER
We offer an AM snack, lunch and PM snack (PM snack not included in half-day program) for our self-feeding toddler group.
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The social aspects of eating at a table together are beneficial. Our older children will be sitting at our little tikes tables and our pre-table eaters sit in a high chair next to the 'big' tables. We teach the children table manners, still making it a fun social part of life, but understanding that we don't play at the table, share food or throw food. When the children are done eating, they learn that hand and face clean-up is important and done before they are allowed to leave the table.
These table manners can benefit families as well as children. Since learning table manners at day care can better prepare children for using the same table manner when eating dinner out with the family.
Some children, and let's face it, adults, can be what we refer to as 'picky eaters'. However, in my experience I find that giving children opportunities to explore various flavors, tastes and textures early along with some patience and creativity, puts children on the path to finding more healthy foods enjoyable.
As a parent are you a picky eater? Chances are your child may become one as well if they are not given more variety and offered even foods that you may not be partial too.(NOTE: The only exception is Lima Bean, not my favorite)
Food experiences for young infants begins at home with his/her parents. Unless your child has food related issues, most pediatricians will have your child begin with a grain type cereal, moving onto pureed vegetables and then fruits, followed by more textured foods and finger foods before graduating to becoming what we refer to as a 'table food-self feeder".
While I am not a nutritionists, in my experience there are things that can benefit you and your child. We hope these suggestions will assist you and your child
Give young eaters more vegetables than fruits when it comes to introducing first foods. This can provide a better opportunity for your child to learn to appreciate foods that are not too sweet.
When your child is able to eat soft textured foods, cut these up into small mashed pieces and blend into pureed food. This is important, as it allows young eaters to learn to use their tongue to maneuver food in their mouth and become familiar with texture.
Allow your child to self-feed when they are ready. Small puffs are a good start for snacks.
When your child is old enought for more textured food, feed them what you are eating from the dinner table. Simply finely chop/mash your food and stir in their pureed food; gradually increasing the chopped food and reducing the pureed food.
Include your child in food preparation. Age appropriate assistance can make children feel more inclined to eat what they made.
Small cuts with a variety of flavors and textures can make food more palatable to your child.
Create a learning experience with food. Here's two examples:
Cut up bell peppers into small bite-sized pieces. Let your child try each one raw. Start with green, red, orange then the sweeter yellow. After each have your child share their likes and dislikes. You may be surprised at which they like. Then allow them to shop at store with you to pick the one they liked and then make dinner incorporating that food. Traders is a great place since it's smaller and they can use the mini shopping cart.
Another fun activity is doing same with apples. There are such a variety of flavors and textures. I find most children don't like red delicious due to the peel being harder to chew, but the peel has so many benefits. Try fuji, gala, golden, honey crisp and encourage children to eat the peel. Try to include Granny Smith so they can get the tart flavor to compare.
Season, season and season. Some avoid seasoning, assuming we are referring to salt. However, there are many seasoning you may find your child likes. Incorporating them in your cooking can make food more enjoyable. When using salt we recommend pink Himalayan, sea salt as it has beneficial qualities or other similar sea salt. Here are a few common seasonings we use:
Himalayan pink salt
Crushed black pepper
Ceyene Pepper (dash)
HEALTHY MEALS PROGRAM
Food is an essential to life, for some it's simply fuel, to others it's an experience of flavors, tastes and textures. Parents and care providers can greatly influence a child's experience with this new adventure in life - solid food!
At Rockinghorse we're not your ordinary day care. It's not all mac & cheese, or peanut butter & jelly and bologna sandwiches.
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