Nutrition in the Early Years – Babies Weaning Support
The Tiffin’s care and education curriculum stimulates the physical, mental, emotional and practical development of children. To achieve this, we look at children from a 360-degree approach. As part of our programme, we encourage children to understand the value of ‘Fueling the Body’ and ‘Feeding the Brain’.
The Tiffin Day Nursery works closely in partnership with Tiffin’s Kitchen in providing a nutritional appealing menu rich in vitamins and minerals. This summer we will be launching a new set of menu’s along with a ‘Food Eduction’ programme that helps support children’s understanding of food, where it comes from – How we cook with it and most importantly experiencing the delicious tastes and aroma’s experienced when Tiffin Kitchen is in action.
We passionately believe that food eduction starts young the more opportunity a child has to experience different ingredient combinations the more a child is educated about food and enjoys the amazing variety of fruits, vegetables and produce available to them.
A child learns to develop eating habits early on in their young lives. Exposing a child’s ‘Bright Enquiring Mind’ and little body to different foods and flavours stimulates an opportunity to create a healthy understanding of food and nutrition. This considered approach helps to reduce fussy eating and establishes a varied taste palette from an early age.
It is important to start children off on the right path in terms of food. Giving children the opportunity to experience a wide variety of food and ingredients allows children to develop and expand their tastes.
As a base line for any child’s diet, children should be exposed to a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables. We should keep salt and sugar to a minimum to help provide children with the best start in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Nutritional Education in the Early Years
Nutritional education has to start early if we have a fighting chance to support healthy eating long term. The baby and toddler stage of a child’s life is very important when introducing new foods. Introducing the right foods and flavours creates eating habits for life”.
Our ‘Explorers’ team are confident and happy to support parents with advice on weaning and meal preparation. We encourage parents to take this stage cautiously and carefully, helping parents to identify the triggers for weaning. This early intervention provides parents and children with the opportunity to establish ‘life-long healthy eating choices’.
At The Tiffin, we work together with parents to assess ‘weaning readiness’. “Our busy working parents appreciate this support and advice and see that we put their child’s interest’s and needs at the heart of what do”.
Supporting young bodies with healthy options can help to reduce fussy eating. It also helps to reduce the ever increasing adult population, facing issues like diabetes and obesity associated with poor diets that are rich in sugar, fat and salt.
Managing the Weaning Stage
As a new parent, it can be an exciting event to see a child taste their first foods. Managing this stage is key to establishing good eating behaviours. However, if babies are exposed too early, to certain foods this may have an impact on their long term health. For example, too many sweet fruit purees during the weaning stage can decay early baby teeth and impact the development of healthy adult teeth.
During the weaning stage, we are looking to satisfy a baby’s hungry tummy. Baby milk is still the most important meal for a baby and food is only there to complement this stage of growth and development. Weaning can be attempted around or after the 6-month point of a baby’s life but, only if they are unsatisfied by milk.
What to give a weaning baby?
When weaning, balance sweet and savoury combinations with less of the sweet and more of the savoury. Keeping weaning foods simple is the key to developing good long term eating habits. The simplicity of foods also allows you to identify if your child has allergies or is unsettled by certain foods.
If you are thinking about weaning, start with the basics – Baby Rice is a great base, mixed with expressed breast milk, or cool boiled water with a combination of ½ a teaspoon of either apple or pear puree. Mashed banana is a delicious introduction too. Don’t forget root vegetables have sugars too, so mix with potato to help to reduce the sweetness – it is still delicious.
Here is a delicious weaning starter:
Pea Puree and Mash Potato
Peas are deliciously sweet. Combining them with potato reduces that sweetness but still provides a delicious and nutritious meal for a little baby.
100g Frozen Peas
1 Large Potato
1 sprig of mint
Cut the potato into very small pieces and place in a small pan. Cover with water and boil until soft and ready to be mashed to smooth paste. Place peas in a pan with the sprig of mint cover with water and cook for approximately 4 minutes until you can easily squash a pea between your fingers tips. Take out 2/3rd of the liquid and either push the peas through a sieve or blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Mix one tea spoon of the pea puree with 3 teaspoons of potato to create a lovely smooth green paste.
Viola! Delicious homemade Pea Puree with Potato.
Nutritionally, peas are rich in Vitamin K and feed the development of muscle, heathy blood and bones.