How to Make Healthy Kids [As a Preschool Teacher]
Did you know that people who don’t eat healthy are more likely to have all kinds of health and developmental problems – even kids?! Read below to find out more about what we as preschool teachers can do to help make healthy kids.
Why You Should Be Teaching Healthy Eating
Parents today don’t want to tell their kids no. Or maybe they just don’t understand how foods affect our bodies. But either way, it’s now necessary for early childhood educators to step in and teach healthy habits.
Parents Rely on Preschools to Teach
I’ve noticed most parents think that because they pay us, that they shouldn’t have to do any teaching at home. Because we should do it all. If only they had a day in our shoes, right?
Obesity Actually Affects Developmental Skills
Insane! But it’s true. Research has found links between obese children and lower
- test scores
- social skills
- motor skills
- verbal skills
Obesity Puts Kids At Health Risk
According to the CDC, 17% of kids aged 2-19 are obese (2014)! And kids who are obese have more health issues. Some examples are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breathing problems
- Joint problems
- Fatty liver disease
- Anxiety and depression
- Low self-esteem
And kids who are obese are likely to become obese adults. Which further increases the risk for all of these disease, plus cancer!
So How Can We Make Healthy Kids in Preschool?
Serve Healthy Meals
If you are a licensed preschool or daycare, then you can work with CACFP to get paid back for serving healthy meals to your students.
I use this program at my daycare since when I serve breakfast, lunch, and snack every day, I get an amount back to cover the cost of food. I just first tell them what we had to eat, and then which kids were here.
So this way I know the kids get fruits, veggies, and milk every day! And as my sponsor has often told me, this is the best meal some of these kids get all week.
Don’t forget drinks! CACFP requires 1% or skim milk at meal times, and water in between. Don’t serve juice or milk in between meals because they add extra sugar and fat that the kids don’t need. It may also make them feel full enough that they aren’t eating the stuff they should at meal time.
Don’t just serve healthy foods at meal time, provide real fruits and veggies for play, too! Go learn more about why on my other post, Why Sensory Play is So Important in Your Early Childhood Program.
Get Preschool Kids Active
Plan fun things to let them run and burn energy. Also, get them outside every day if you can. Take them for walks and make up games that require running. There are lots of other ideas on Pinterest!
Maybe add an extra gross motor play time during the day. You can probably even add gross motor skills during learning time in creative ways. Almost all kids love to be active. So encourage it!
Inform the Preschool Parents
Parents aren’t spending the time to research this stuff. Or maybe they already know some healthy habits but aren’t taking them seriously. But maybe just giving out a quick piece of paper can make a parent take their child’s health seriously.
All of the websites below have great free resources you can easily print off and send home with families. Click on any of the links to go right to the resource page.
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service
- Nibbles for Health
- Let’s Move! Child Care
Plan A Preschool Lesson on Healthy Foods
Finally, we also need to be explicitly teaching healthy habits in preschool. There are tons of different ways to do this! Follow my Pinterest board for lots of unique ideas:
I have also made it easy for you to teach about healthy eating by making a Healthy or Not Healthy? Preschool Printable Pack that you can download now!
Click the photo below to get a copy for yourself!
What do you do in your preschool to teach healthy eating habits? Please comment below!Hey #preschool #teachers ! Let's do our part to make healthy kids! Read more:… Click To Tweet