As a parent, the health and wellbeing of your child is almost always at the forefront of your mind. Are they eating enough fruit and veg? Will they realise that tonight’s lasagne is packed with aubergine and mushrooms? Can you reach the till without passing the dreaded confectionery isle?
Here at Sunny Days, healthy eating is incredibly important to us. Every child’s unique dietary requirements are catered for, with our wonderful chef overseeing all the meals we serve. We ensure our little ones enjoy:
- Varied seasonal menus
- A tasty continental breakfast
- Nutritious snacks, available every day
- Healthy, well-balanced lunches, prepared / overseen daily by our chef
We believe that preparing and eating food should be a positive social activity. The children join in at every stage, helping to set up chairs, prepare their own food and clear tables, enjoying their meals with friends and staff.
As a result of this ethos, we were interested when recent Dutch research suggested that early exposure to the preparation of healthy food can have a lasting impact on young minds - it seems that kids really do copy what they see.
The study started by showing a group of children age-orientated cooking programmes. After this, the kids were given a choice between a healthy snack - cucumber slices and an apple - and an unhealthy snack - salted pretzels and crisps.
Those who watched a programme featuring healthy food were a whopping 2.7 times more likely to make a beeline for the nutritious treats, in comparison to those who watched a programme centred on unhealthy food. It’s thought that the visual depiction of the portion sizes and food encouraged kids to crave the good stuff and demonstrated methods that enabled them to act on it.
Parents of picky eaters, don’t rejoice just yet! The study noted that children with an aversion to trying new foods were less likely to opt for a healthier snack than those with an adventurous streak. On the bright side, the researchers believe that these fussy diners will become more health-conscious as they grow up, resorting to positive habits learnt during childhood.
In addition to this, these findings place extra emphasis on the importance of schools as places in which children learn healthy eating patterns.
In a press release, the study’s lead author Frans Folkvord said: “Increased cooking skills among children can positively influence their consumption of fruit and vegetables in a manner that will persist into adulthood,” adding that “positive peer and teacher modelling can encourage students to try new foods for which they exhibited distaste previously.”
Previous research has also suggested that kids are likelier to munch on nutritious nosh once they’re shown how, so, all in all, it seems the proactive Sunny Days approach to healthy eating works a treat.