Great childcare isn’t just about encouraging learning and play, it’s also about superb nutrition too.
At Holly Tree Nursery we take nutrition very seriously, we know providing great nutrition is an essential part of a child’s health for the future.
Parents are often bombarded with advice from every angle, from the internet, nursery school, other parents, supermarkets, social media, you name it. However there are a number of great resources available online to help you choose the right foods to provide your child with great nutrition.
Superb nutrition starts early.
The NHS website outlines some superb nutritional advice for parents with babies. It explains clearly when to start introducing solid foods to babies, such as when babies can do the following
- stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
- co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves
- swallow food (rather than spit it back out)
The article goes on to explain how to start solid foods, progression into more textured food, safety and hygiene.
It’s important for new parents to relax throughout this process, you and your child are learning about the foods they like and don’t like. Remember babies need to be offered a variety of flavours and textures, if they don’t seem to like something the first time keep trying. More often than not babies quickly learn to enjoy many flavours and textures, so keep sweet stuff to a minimum and persist with the food that may be a little more challenging.
As the NHS article progresses you’ll find out how the process of weaning continues through to 12 months old and beyond.
Foods to avoid in early years
Food allergies and the dangers of certain foods are everywhere these days. Having an allergy to certain foods can be potentially life threatening to some people. It is important not to avoid introducing these foods due to fear alone. Again the NHS provides some superb advice including the following
When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months old, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can spot any reaction.
These foods are:
- cows’ milk
- eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
- foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
- nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
- seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
- shellfish (don’t serve raw or lightly cooked)
If your child presents with 1 or more of the following they my be having an allergic reaction to something they have eaten.
- diarrhoea or vomiting
- a cough
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- itchy throat and tongue
- itchy skin or rash
- swollen lips and throat
- runny or blocked nose
- sore, red and itchy eyes
It’s important that you seek proper medical advice if you believe your child is having an allergic reaction. Speak to your GP or dial 111 for NHS Direct.
A full list of foods to avoid in the early stages of weaning can be found here, however here are a few that may not be so well known.
- Children under 5 years old shouldn’t have rice drinks as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula (or cows’ milk after 1 year old) as they may contain too much arsenic.
- Don’t give your baby shark, swordfish or marlin. The amount of mercury in these fish can affect the development of a baby’s nervous system.
- Honey contains bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism.
Start right for a healthier future.
Did you know that healthy eating habits developed in the early years can set a child up for good health in later life? Children need a diet made up of foods from the 4 main food groups, in the right balance and in portion sizes just right for them. In most cases your child will need about this number of portions across the day from each food group:
- Starchy Foods x 5-a-day
- Fruit & Vegetables x 5-a-day (or more)
- Dairy Foods x 3-a-day
- Protein Foods x 2-a-day
The British Nutrition Foundation has a great booklet parents can download outlining portion sizes for a variety of different foods, it’s an easy guide for superb nutrition.
For instance –
For Starchy Foods one portion is equal to
- ½-1 small cup of noodles
- 2-4 potato wedges
- 2-4 tbsp canned spaghetti hoops
It almost goes without saying that Holly Tree Childrens Nursery work hard to meet the nutritional needs of all the children in our care. From fussy eaters to children with allergies, to read just one parents story take a look at the feedback we received from Stanley’s parent
If you have any questions about the superb nutrition we provide at Holly Tree Children’s Nursery, Billinge, Wigan – please get in touch we are always happy to help.