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14 August 2014, by , in blog, Education, Food, Head Start, Health, Nutrition, Comments off

Head Start Programs: Parent Tips for Feeding Young Children

When it comes to feeding toddlers, it can be very challenging for parents and teachers alike. Part of the success of Head Start Programs is their commitment to nutritional education and exposure to new foods that can help kids to make healthier choices as they grow. With all of the mixed information available to parents these days, it can make knowing what is healthy – and what isn’t – very difficult to understand. Feeding young children, whether at home or in Head Start Programs, can be very challenging. The tips provided here are designed to help parents and teachers provide the young children with the nutrition they need at this stage.

Wholesale Food Suppliers

Head Start Programs can work within their budgets and still supply the children and families in their program with the healthy, nutritional foods that they need. FoodSource Plus is a food service supply company that works with vendors and non-profit human service organizations to get the fresh, healthy foods they need at a price that they can afford. Our food supply source services are completely free and the nutritional menus and guides that we provide fall under USDA, CACFP, NSLP, SBP and other required standards to ensure that your program participants are getting the healthy foods they need from our wholesale food suppliers. Call FoodSource Plus today at 866-248-4520 for more information on how to join our program!

The ABCD’s of Vitamins and Nutrition

Making sure that kids get enough vitamins to build strong bones and healthy bodies can be difficult. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most important vitamins and nutrition that children need from their Head Start Programs in order to get a healthy head start.

  • A – This vitamin is important for building a healthy immune system and comes from animal products, such as whole milk and liver, as well as from colorful fruits and veggies.
  • B – Required for energy, stress management and brain function, this vitamin can help the body overcome the damaging effects of eating processed foods and refined carbs.
  • C – Most people know that this vitamin comes from citrus fruits and other healthy sources, but they don’t necessarily know what it does. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that helps to improve brain and immune functions.
  • D – When it comes to young children, this vitamin is very important for bone development and growth. It is found in Vitamin D fortified milk, but can also be absorbed through exposure to sunlight.

Colorful Food Choices 

When you place your food orders for Head Start Programs, make sure to speak with the food service supply company about buying a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to entice young children to broaden their tastes. While apples, carrots, green beans and bananas are great, it can really pay to expose children to even more colorful choices.

Blueberries, grapes, raspberries and plums, plus veggies like pumpkin, squash, beets and salad greens. The more colors, the more variation in nutrients. Carotenoids, flavonoids and chlorophyll are found naturally in these colorful foods, giving children healthy and nutritious building blocks that will carry with them throughout their lives.

Fruits and vegetables should be given as snacks and desserts instead of pre-packaged foods that contain high amounts of fat, sugar and sodium. If children learn to look forward to having a box of raisins or enjoy dipping strawberries in yogurt instead of demanding pudding, gelatin and cakes, they will bring that healthy lifestyle home and share it with parents and siblings. Kids know what they like and Head Start Programs have a great opportunity to encourage children to try new things and make healthier choices.

Power Foods for Kids

When you create the menu for your Head Start Programs, work with your food supply source provider to include this list of power foods that have the most impact on growing bodies. If you can include at least one of these foods each day, you will be making huge strides toward providing top nutrition for your participants.

  • YOGURT – calcium and probiotics for strong bones and intestinal health
  • EGGS – protein, vitamin A and iron for immunity and healthy growth
  • FATTY FISH – omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna and trout improve brain development
  • DARK, LEAFY GREENS – calcium, fiber and vitamins for antioxidants and overall health
  • BERRIES – fiber and antioxidants for brain, vascular, eye and digestive health
  • SWEET POTATOES – vitamins A and E for immunity and eye health
  • LEGUMES – fiber, protein, iron and minerals for all around nutrition
  • AVOCADOS – folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and “healthy” fats for antioxidants, healthy cholesterol and eye health

Getting Started at FoodSource Plus

If you would like to find more about the food service supply program available to Head Start Programs at FoodSource Plus, give us a call. Our staff can help you get started with our free service that gives you access to wholesale food suppliers that can provide you with fresh, healthy nutritious foods at a more affordable cost that can realize between 10-35 percent in annual savings. Head Start Programs are always looking for ways to reduce costs. Now you can lower costs with our food supply source program without compromising on nutrition and healthy benefits for your participants. Call us today at 866-248-4520 for a free consultation.

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