Did you know that 9 out of every 10 Australian children aren't getting their five-a-day of fresh fruit and vegetables? So, if most parents in Australia are struggling to follow child nutrition guidelines, can it have an adverse effect on their development as a whole? Absolutely it can - something we aim to shed some light on in this article.
Is It A Good Idea For Children To Go On A Diet?
If you're talking about a calorie-controlled diet, not really. As childcare nutrition training teaches us, restricting a child's intake can lead to developmental problems. These problems can be difficult to reverse, too, with nutritional and vitamin deficiencies linked to all kinds of problems (many of which are serious) during childhood and into adult life.
Why Is Nutrition Important In Early Childhood Development?
Look in any good dictionary for the definition of nutrition, and it will say something like - the process of obtaining the food necessary for health & growth. This statement lays it all out, as it's what kids need to be happy and healthy. Keep reading as we examine the array of reasons why nutrition is essential during a child's development.
Immune System Development
In order to enjoy good health, we all need a solid immune system, and for a child to develop properly, they need nutrients. Vitamins C & D, protein, calcium, and iron are all vital elements that need to be in the body so that it's able to fight off germs and infections. This can only be gained from a healthy, balanced diet that isn't full of the refined sugars that lead to weight gain.
So, we're talking about:
- Fruit like oranges, apples & strawberries for Vitamin C
- Nuts, red meat, or cornflakes for iron
- Lean meats, eggs, and fish for protein
- Tuna & dairy for vitamin D
If you're a parent, childcare professional, or someone who's taking a teacher's aid course with a view to becoming a teacher's aide, it’s essential that you understand what good nutrition looks like. Not only will it keep you healthy, but it will also enable you to pass on what you know.
Physical & Cognitive Growth
If you think of good nutrition as being good fuel for the body, it's not difficult to then imagine what might happen if it's not provided. Strong bones and muscles require good nutrition, as do good eyesight, suppleness, athleticism, and stamina.
As they say, you are what you eat, so if a child only eats processed meals or nutrient-free fast food, it stands to reason that they're not going to grow as strong or healthy.
The same goes for cognitive health. If someone has a poor diet, the likelihood is that they're going to be someone who has a problem with concentration and focus. This is something that's backed by studies, too, as eating healthily is associated with improved brainpower.
As such, appropriately-named brain foods need to be in their diet:
- Leafy greens like spinach & kale
- Fresh berries
- Nuts & seeds
Healthy Eating Habits Can Last A Lifetime
One of the great things about passing on knowledge learned from nutrition-related childcare courses is that you can shape a child's mind in a way that stays with them forever. Instilling healthy eating early on provides them with tools that they can take with them into adulthood - perhaps even going on to inspire their kids to do the same.
By ensuring that kids reach for water more often than sugar-laden drinks, eat mindfully (more slowly and considerately), understand what proper portion sizes look like, and opt for fruit for snacks instead of sweets and crisps, you're already halfway to encouraging the right behaviours.
Boost Your Knowledge With OCA Child Nutrition Courses
A subject as complex as nutrition can seem quite daunting at the outset. Still, thanks to CPD Endorsed video-based childcare nutrition training like our Healthy Eating For Kids course; it has never been easier to learn what you need to know. At OCA, we offer an immersive and interactive learning experience supported with 1-to-1 mentoring and tutorial assistance 24/7.
To get a good feel for what life is like as an OCA student, check out our student study demo that shows you everything you need to know. However, if you'd like to know more about us as a learning provider or want to see the entire course library that covers more than 20 different professional sectors, visit us today at www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edu.au.
Alternatively, if you feel like you'd prefer to speak to us prior to enrolment, that's not a problem. Our friendly team is available on 1300 611 404 or at [email protected]. They're ready and waiting to give you the answers you need, so you can begin your exciting learning journey.