The first few years of a child’s life is an important time for their cognitive, behavioral, and physical development. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet plays a key role in a child’s development and overall wellness.
There are many benefits to eating nutritious meals for people of all ages, but it’s especially important for children because it will help them establish healthy eating habits that will last throughout their life.
Here are some of the benefits of eating nutritious meals:
- Stabilizes a child’s energy | Children who eat healthy foods regularly will be able to maintain their concentration so they’re better prepared to learn. Feeding children sugary food, which gives them a quick energy boost but will result in a crash, can make a child feel tired, irritable, and make it hard for them to focus. Providing balanced, healthy meals will help children even out their moods and improve their ability to learn.
- Enhances brain development | A proper diet helps with a child’s brain development. In fact, poor nutrition early in life can lower IQ scores and could lead to issues with learning, such as problems paying attention and behavioral issues. Eating a diet that has enough nutrition will help the brain development, as well as help the rest of the child’s body grow.
- Promotes growth | Eating the right foods provides nutrients and energy that are key to a child’s growth, which occurs in spurts throughout their life. A healthy diet now will enable children to grow, as well as establish healthy eating habits that will propel them through life and future growth spurts.
- Prevents disease | Making sure a child is eating the right foods is important to preventing chronic diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Child Care Food Programs Can Help You Provide Healthy Meals and Snacks
As a child care provider, it can be difficult to find the resources to continuously serve healthy, nutritious meals to the children in your care. However, there is a food program to help. It’s called the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and it’s available for nonprofit licensed child care centers and for-profit licensed child care centers in which 25 percent of the families at the center are considered low-income households.
The CACFP will reimburse qualifying child care centers for the cost of healthy meals and snacks, so long as the meals meet the nutritional value requirements established by the USDA.
The reimbursement program can be a little confusing to navigate, but that’s why Partners in Quality Care is here. We’ll work with you to sign up for the food program to get money, so you can provide healthy food for the children at your center.
Partners in Quality Care in the Twin Cities has been a leading CACFP sponsor and advocate for child care for many years, so we have the expertise to help fill out the correct forms, process the paperwork, provide CACFP training, and coordinate for federal and state officials on your behalf.
If you think your child care center could benefit from funding for healthy foods, contact us today at 651-925-9344.