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Snack Time: Nurturing Healthy Habits in Children

At In Space, we believe that snack time is not just a break from play, but a valuable opportunity to nurture healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Drawing inspiration from the updated Canada Food Guide, we’re excited to share how we will be incorporating nutritious snacks into our daily routine and how you can expose your child to more healthy foods at home.

The Importance of Nutrition in Child Development

Good nutrition is vital for children’s growth and development. The foods they consume provide the energy and nutrients needed for physical growth, brain development, and overall health - we all know this! Proper nutrition helps in building strong bones, supporting immune function, and enhancing cognitive skills. So, what can we do as adults to support our children’s nutritional needs? Read on to learn more about what each food group offers nutritionally, and how to incorporate more of these foods into your child’s diet.

The Developmental Benefits of Nutritious Foods

Children’s bodies and minds are growing rapidly, and the right nutrition is crucial for their development. Here’s how the key components of the Canada Food Guide support this growth:

1. Fruits and Vegetables: Boosting Immunity and Cognitive Function

Fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of essential vitamins and minerals. They provide antioxidants, which are crucial for boosting the immune system and protecting the body from illnesses. The fiber content aids in digestion and maintains a healthy gut, which is vital for overall health.

From a cognitive perspective, the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate, are important for brain health. For example, leafy greens and berries are known to enhance memory and concentration, helping children perform better in school and other activities.

2. Protein: Building Strong Bodies and Brains

Protein is essential for the growth and repair of tissues. It is a critical component of muscles, skin, hair, and virtually every other part of the body. Children need ample protein to support their rapid growth spurts.

In addition to physical development, protein plays a significant role in brain development. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. This can affect mood, concentration, and cognitive function, making it easier for children to learn and stay focused.

3. Whole Grains: Providing Sustained Energy

Whole grains are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a steady supply of energy throughout the day. This is particularly important for children, who have high energy needs for both physical activities and mental tasks.

Whole grains also contain essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients are vital for energy metabolism, muscle function, and the development of the nervous system. Regular consumption of whole grains supports overall growth and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Exposing Your Child to More Healthy Foods

We understand that getting children to try new and healthy foods can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips to make this process easier and more enjoyable:

1. Lead by Example

Children are more likely to try new foods if they see their parents and caregivers enjoying them.

Make healthy eating a family affair.

2. Make It Fun

Turn healthy eating into a fun activity. Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes with fruits and vegetables. Involve your children in the preparation process; they are more likely to eat what they helped make.

3. Be Patient

It can take multiple exposures for a child to accept a new food. Keep offering it without pressure and celebrate small victories.

4. Offer Variety

Regularly introduce new foods alongside familiar favorites. This keeps meals interesting and expands their palate over time.

5. Encourage Mindful Eating

Teach your child to listen to their hunger and fullness cues. Avoid using food as a reward or punishment, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits.

Building Healthy Habits Together

At In Space, we are committed to providing nutritious and delicious snacks that support your child’s development. By following the Canada Food Guide and incorporating a variety of healthy options, we can help children develop a positive relationship with food. Snack time is more than just a moment to refuel; it’s an opportunity to instill lifelong healthy eating habits.

To learn more about our NEW snack program, start here! This will be launching September 23, 2024, pending approval with the Health Authority. 


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