Program planning that promotes healthy eating
The guide to the NEW National Quality Framework states “Assessors may sight program planning including cooking experiences that promote healthy eating and knowledge of nutrition.”
Giving children the opportunity to have hands on experience with food is an important part of developing a positive relationship with food into adulthood. Learning where food comes from, how it’s grown, how it helps fuel our body and ways to prepare it is vital.
Here are some ways you can meet the criteria through planned experiences:
- Home corner/ pretend play – Add a variety of healthy pretend food or food cartons from varying food groups and cultures and appropriate cooking utensils. Turn the home corner area into a restaurant, cafe or grocery store.
- Music and movement– Use fun, interactive songs, music and rhymes about foods, different food groups, foods that are good for your body
- Fruit and vegetable recognition games -memory, matching, colours
- Storytime – Picture books with a focus on food for babies and toddlers. For older children, consider books about growing foods and where different foods come from. View recipes books with a variety of foods from other cultures.
- Outdoor – establish a vegie patch or herb garden
Cooking activities in particular are a fun and much loved group activity. Cooking with children can develop fine motor coordination, promote maths and literacy concepts, colour recognition and creativity. Develop children’s mathematical skills by discussing size, shape, weight of different food types in a fun and enjoyable way.
Ensure age appropriate recipes and tasks are given to children.
- Observe educators cooking
- Be given safe equipment to participate in the activity (i.e wooden spoons and plastic bowls).
- Let them feel different fruits and vegetables.
Between 18 Months – 3 Years children are often ready to help out with simple tasks including:
- Pouring dry and liquid ingredients into a bowl
- Rinsing fruit and vegetables
- Picking herbs off a stem
- Tearing lettuce
- Stirring batter
- Sprinkling herbs and spices
From 4 – 5 years introduce slightly more complex tasks like:
- Kneading pizza or bread dough
- Juicing lemons
- Whisking ingredients
- Measuring and levelling dry ingredients
Finally, make sure you document experiences ready for Assessment and Rating!