Why Healthy Snacks are Essential in Preschools
The easy solution for snacks in preschools is often to pass out some cookies and juice boxes. Teachers or parents often settle on finding a snack that kids will eat without complaining, and that will be simple to prepare, without thinking about potential health consequences. Although snack time is only one small part of the day, it is critical to the health and well-being of children, not only for their preschool years, but in the years to come.
Children’s bodies are forming and developing rapidly when they are in preschool, which means that they need to get the proper nutrients and vitamins in their diet. Snack time should be a chance to help accomplish this daily goal. Preschoolers do not eat large meals like adults because their stomachs are smaller and not able to handle to handle as much food. Having a snack in the morning or afternoon is a chance for students to help meet daily food requirements that they may not be able to fit in during a meal time.
In a society facing a serious obesity epidemic, snacks for kids should not be taken lightly. Junk food like candy, cookies, or potato chips not only does nothing for nutritional value, but is adding extra lots of calories that kids do not need. Although most preschoolers do not look in serious danger of being obese, unhealthy eating at this age can already begin to affect a child’s blood pressure and even their sleep routine.
Having healthy snacks at preschool is a way to model good nutrition for kids. Since food preferences can be formed early on, exposing the kids to tasty fruits, vegetables, cheese and other fresh and healthy food can be a great way to impact their future snacking choices. Studies have shown that it takes a few times of being exposed to a food before a child will get used to it. Exposing kids to healthy foods early on can have a big impact on future preferences.
Excuses that teachers or parents sometimes use for a lack of healthy snacks is that they take longer to make, or they are expensive. Neither of these excuses really stands up under examination. Serving carrot sticks, cheese cubes, or fresh fruit such as grapes do not take time to prepare. Prepackaged foods usually end up being more expensive when proper portions are distributed. One particular point of caution is beverages. Juice packets often contain little or no fruit juice and can be very high in sugar. Milk, water, or juices that are made fully from fruit make better drink choices.
The small amount of time and effort required for serving healthy snacks at preschool is completely worth it. The consequences of serving unhealthy snacks to children is severe. Healthy snacks will ensure that children grow and develop properly.
Authors Bio: Briana Kelly is an experienced author in the child care sector. She regularly writes guides and articles on behalf of Dublin based childcare provider Giraffe.