Dear Parents, Nannies, and Students,
The preschool period is an important time when children learn many concepts and develop life-long attitudes and behaviours. During the early years, children learn about appropriate and balanced nutrition and develop habits that they will carry with them as they grow.
Nutrition is one of the most important concepts we can teach to our youngsters. Helping them to learn and understand what it means to eat a healthy, balanced diet is the job for all people involved in a child’s growth and development–it is a team effort! By encouraging children to eat and explore a balanced diet early on is important for a variety of reasons: children need the right vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong; students learn better when they have eaten well as their brains are receiving the proper nutrients to function; children will be more energized and motivated, which supports their ability to learn; and proper nutrition leads to healthier choices as they grow older, reducing obesity and other health problems related to diet.
Research shows many benefits of eating healthy. To read more about it, you can check out these articles or Google some more:
In our classroom, we have two opportunities each day to teach and practice healthy nutrition: Snack around 8:45 AM and Lunch around 11:15 AM. During our morning Snack, students know that they can choose to drink water or milk and they may eat some of their healthy food, like fruits, veggies, or sandwiches. At Lunch, they are allowed to drink their juice, finish their healthy food, and then if they have eaten a good amount of healthy food, they can eat some of the less healthy options that are in their lunches. Please make sure that your child has plenty of healthy food to eat.
Mrs. Cilia and I have been very impressed with some of the healthy lunches that come to school. We have also had moments of hesitation when we see some lunches that are full of sugar. Sugar is not good fuel for our bodies. It gives us a sugar high that is full of energy, and then causes a crash in blood insulin levels that leaves children tired, cranky, lethargic, and unable to focus well for the rest of the day. This year, I have been personally learning a lot about nutrition, particularly how it is related to learning. I have been looking more carefully at nutrition labels and food ingredients, and am shocked to see that many of the foods we would consider “healthy” or “not so bad” actually have sugar in the first 3 to 5 ingredients. For example, KDD mango juice lists sugar as the 3rd ingredient, so do Ritz crackers! It is crucial to read labels and to be considerate of what we put into our bodies.
Because we would really like our students to be eating healthy foods so they have the best fuel going into their bodies, it would be great if you would check the ingredients. If foods have sugar in the first 3 ingredients, those foods should not be sent to school with your child. If foods with sugar in the first 3 ingredients are sent, Mrs. Cilia and I will ask the student to save that food for home. Since we realize there will be a transitional time needed, we will start with encouragement from now until the Winter Break, and then we will enforce this practice strongly after the Winter Break.
Here are a few examples of healthy lunches that you might help with the transition:
Please help us with this initiative to help our students make healthy choices with nutrition!
Miss Lizz and Mrs. Cilia