The Importance of Nutrition in Preschoolers

Healthy food selection: food sources of omega 3 and unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables, seeds, superfoods with high vitamin e and dietary fiber, cereals on gray background

Nutrition is something that parents think about on a near daily basis. Kids can be fickle about what they want to eat, but picky eating can cause nutritional balances that can harm their development. Children need vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates in balance to help them grow properly.

Healthy food choices can help a young child grow, both physically and cognitively, while eating poorly can cause health problems. If your child isn’t thrilled about vegetables, here are a few tips on helping them eat properly.

Choose a Good Daycare

Daycare can be responsible for a surprising amount of your child’s nutrition. From the snack they receive before leaving to breakfast and lunch, all those chances to eat add up. If your daycare is only serving junk at those meals, it could mean that’s the majority of what your child is eating.

Ask your childcare provider what your child is eating on a daily basis, and make sure the meals and snacks they provide are overall nutritious.

Don’t Keep Junk in the House

At home, you can help make healthier options what your child chooses by making junk like candy unavailable. By not having it in the house, your child will only have what you provide to choose from—healthy foods like fruit as a snack.

This doesn’t mean you should keep junk completely under lock and key. If you are too strict about what your child can and can’t eat, you may inadvertently make that junk more attractive than it already is. Completely forbidden food can make children want it more than ever, simply because it is forbidden.

Present “yucky” foods in new ways

If your child rejects cooked broccoli, don’t be afraid to serve broccoli again. They may find they prefer it raw with ranch, or cooked but with a cheese sauce. Before you completely give up on a healthy food your child hates, serving it in different ways can help find out what it is they don’t like about a food.

Remember, a child may need to be exposed to a new food several times before they’re willing to eat it anyway. By continuing to offer the food, you’re helping them get used to it.

Talk about Nutrition

Preschoolers are naturally curious about the world, and love learning new things. You can help them understand why carrots and other nutritious foods are important to eat by explaining it to them. Learning about vitamins and minerals will not only help them learn about the world, but may encourage an interest in eating healthy foods.

When your child understands that carrots can build their night vision or that milk builds strong bones, they may be more inclined to give these foods a try. Young children are in a period of rapid growth. They need nutrients from a wide range of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to help them grow. Even though it is sometimes hard to give them a balanced diet, taking the time to make sure they