When you become an early childhood assistant (ECA), you play a central role in the development of children. ECAs are responsible for leading activities, communicating effectively with children, parents, and teachers, and for the health and safety of children. One aspect of health that is very important is nutrition. As an ECA, you are in a great position to help children develop healthy eating habits as you will often assist in preparing snacks and meals.
Nutrition is essential to children’s health. Certain nutrients can promote healthy brain development while certain foods can be detrimental to it. As an ECA, you can participate directly in fostering good nutritional practices for children. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or just for a snack, you will have many opportunities to educate children and to help them build healthy eating habits!
Here are some nutrition tips you’ll want to remember when you begin working as an ECA!
1. Develop an Understanding of Nutrition During Early Childhood Assistant Training
To have a good foundation in healthy eating practices, you should know what children’s bodies and minds need and where they can get it. Learning about nutrition in your early childhood assistant courses will give you a good understanding of this important topic. Here are some basic nutrients that greatly benefit children and which foods you can find them in:
Protein. Protein helps with brain function and efficiency. It can be found in poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds, as well as dairy.
Iron. Iron can help eliminate fatigue and plays a vital role in immune system function. It can be found in meats, dark leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, and baked potatoes.
Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for maintaining good vision, and it also helps regulate organ function. It can be found in foods like carrots, potatoes, and spinach.
2. Get to Know the Diets and Particularities of the Children You’re Working With
It is important to get to know the dietary differences between the children you are working with. Because children could be shy or don’t want to displease the adults around them, they might not speak up about their preferences or the way that they are used to eating. Creating a food profile which indicates the preferences of different children can be a good way to stay on top of things after your early childhood assistant courses. Fortunately, in your courses you’ll learn not only about nutrition, but how to communicate with children. Improving your communication skills in this way can help you learn what children’s nutritional preferences are so that you can take them into account when preparing snacks and lunches.
3. Get Creative and Make Nutrition a Fun Learning Experience
There is a misconception that healthy eating is not very fun and that children do not respond well to healthy foods. But this doesn’t have to be true. Instead, healthy dieting must be presented in a way that is appealing. One technique you might decide to use is telling children that they’re eating superhero foods. Instead of simply serving carrots, tell them these are superhero carrots and that they will improve their vision. Each food contributes something very special and specific to the body. After your early childhood assistant training, you can use this knowledge to help children develop and maintain healthy nutritional habits.
Want to learn more about early childhood assistant careers?
Contact the Canadian Business College today!