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Childcare meals can impact kids healthy habits

Posted on Jan 10, 2014 by Maggie LaBarbera

A new study published by Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics shows the value of daycare centers providing family-style meals to kids.  This may be one of the tactics in fighting childhood obesity.

It may be that kids passing food dishes to each other and serving themselves may help children recognize their body's are no longer hungry.

It is also a way for children to learn more about food preferences and more importantly portion control.  

This study compared eating habits of children who were served their lunch on a plate versus children who sat around a table and food was available on the table for each child to choose and serve themselves.

Caregivers should sit in the table with them and model healthy habits and manners.  

I think this makes perfect sense.  There has long been studies showing a great deal of benefits for children who eat a family meal at home.  It only follows logic that promoting this habit at daycare centers will also promote healthy habits.

According to 2012 Childcare in America report, we know that*

  • about 11 million children under age 5 go to some kind of childcare:
  • there are over 117,000 childcare centers
  • there are over 209,000 family home based childcare 
  • over 4,200 childcare programs

Just think what a positive impact it would have to all those children if we can spread the word for childcare facilities, childcare based home and programs to follow this one simple change:

have children eat their lunch together family style around a table where they can learn about portion control and the importance of a balance meal.

Sometimes, the simplest changes are the most impactful.






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