A Healthy Start for Children: January 9, 2017
Making lifestyle changes can be difficult, especially when it comes to modifying your diet. But Lee Health daycare facilities are changing the menu for kids to incorporate healthier options into their diet.
Lee Health clinical nutrition director, Heather Wayco, says the new focus of each meal and snack at the Lee Health child development centers are fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and protein. “We want them to get the nutrition, but we also want to expose them to new fruits and vegetables as well as other items such as quinoa or beans or more plant based protein options.”
The new options replace sugary drinks, canned fruits, and sugary snacks. “Our original menu we had 25 meat based entre meals: fish, chicken, and beef. With our new menu updates we’ve actually incorporated almost 12 new plant based protein options,” said Wayco.
The new menu incorporates the 5-2-1-0 program, which recommends at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Children are now getting that recommended amount just in daycare. “Most of the children have been really accepting to our options and have tried them and really have enjoyed them,” said Wayco.
By removing sugary snacks, teachers have already noticed some positive behavioral changes. “It’s important to incorporate healthy foods from the beginning because the children learn from us on what foods they want to eat as an adult, so if we can teach them at an early age to eat healthy then maybe they’ll take it through their lives and decrease their risk for disease in the future,” said Wayco.
The goal is to give children a healthy start to benefit their health.
Bottom line - if you’re going away for the holidays, don’t leave your safety precautions at home.