During the last decades, the increase of obesity and eating disorders has tripled among young children. Therefore the topic of our assignment is how to promote healthy eating in children and centres. During our work term internship we noticed that the meals offered were not healthy food. The issue regarding healthy and nutrition in child care centres is important because it is very concerning that in a decade children have become very unhealthy. They prefer to eat meals that are not nutritious. As stated above in our work term we notice the food that was often given was oily and fried.
As leaders in the field we have to make ECE’s and other adults more aware of how important it is for children to remain health. It is important for educators in centers to promote healthy habits in younger children because child obesity has increased by 10 percent in children ages from 2-5 and 15 percent in children ages 6-19. (Haschke, B. 2003) . Also the impact this will have if resolved is that children will be that having good nutrition will have a positive impact on the wellbeing, growth and development of children. Methodology There were two methods used to collect information for this project.
The first method was to retrieve the centre’s menu to examine. We were able to obtain one menu that was used for that week. This menu included both the lunches and snacks served for that one week. After we had gotten access to a menu from the centre we used it to compare with the recommended number of food guide servings per day. The other method we used was going into the centre and conducting an observation. The purpose of the observation was to see if the centre did follow the menu and how they were promoting healthy and nutrition.
On Friday October 19, 2012 we as a group both Faizah and Khoulah went to X child care center to observe what food the center serves and prepares for the children. We had arrived at the center early in the morning at 8am and left at 2:30pm. We had observed the cooking staff to see how they prepare and cook the food for the children and also to see if they were following their menu plan. Findings Analysis While analyzing the information gathered three merging themes were noticed, they were inconsistent with planned meals, the amount of unhealthy food rovided and food portions. The first thing we did was obtain the centre’s menus.
When we received the menu it only displayed meal planning for that week. So to see how the centre was promoting healthy eating we got their menu to compare with Canada’s food guide. When comparing we came across that on average per week children are only given meats and alternatives 0. 4 time a day meaning it is only served twice a week (Appendix A, graph 1). While Canada’s food guide recommend meats and alternatives be recommended once a day (Appendix A).
When analyzing the two together we learned the centre was providing fruits and vegetables accordance to Canada’s food guide. The centre served fruits and vegetables on average four times a day; this is also the recommended number of servings in Canada’s Food Guide. While Grain products were being served twice a day on average, when Canada’s food guide recommends 3 servings a day. During our observation of X child care we had gathered information from the center that we didn’t know. We had learned that the center wasn’t following their menu plan for that day.
According to the menu during lunch time the meal provided was supposed to be fish sticks and sweet potatoes with carrots, grapes and bread butter on the side with milk. However on Friday when we went to observe children were given French fries, chicken nuggets, apples and fruit juice. The same had happened throughout the whole day. When we talked to the Chef she said they had gone over their budget and this was all that was available. This allowed us to see how inconsistent they were when implementing the meals for that day.
They provide one meal while having written on the menu another. Another observation we came across was the center was deep frying the food for the children rather than using a healthier alternative for that day. For example instead of frying the chicken nuggets and French fries, the chef could have baked them. They had also not provided any vegetables or milk throughout the day with any of the meals that was given to the children. The centre’s staffs were also giving 100% juice to the children without adding water to it to lessen the amount of sugar.
While exploring the centre we noticed that they did not have any posters or brochures on health and nutrition on the wall. Having this information could be beneficial for not only the centre staff but, for parents as well. In X child care we observed there being no portion control. The educators were over feeding children by giving them more food than needed. Also if a child wasn’t hungry after eating and had food left over, educators would force the child to eat all of the food so it wouldn’t go to waste. These are the information we gathered while collecting data through the observation and analyzing the menu.
Limitations We only came across one big limitation when it came to our findings. The limitation is in regards to us being only able to observe for one day. Our method at first was to collect the centres menu and go in to observe for two days. When we had talked to the centre they had agreed at firs but, later on we found out that due to a special guest coming in we could only observe for a day. This only allowed us to see what they were serving for that day. On Friday October the 19th the centre did not follow the menu at all and served different meals.
If we were given the opportunity to come in another day we could see if that inconsistency with the menu was only that day or not. However due to the circumstance that was not able to happen. This limited us in able to gather information in regards to what meals were given and if they did in fact follow the menu. Another limitation faced was having access to only one menu that only had planned meals for that week so we were only able to compare one weeks’ worth of planned meals with the Canadian food guide as opposed to a month.
If we had access to one moth meal plan it would make our data more reliable. Evaluation Criteria for Solutions As viewed in the finding analysis when doing observations in X child care Faizah and I noticed a few problem in regards to healthy eating and the meals served. The centre was not serving the meals as written on their menu for the week and they had no posters or brochures about how to promote healthy eating and there was no Canada’s food guide. There are four criteria to evaluate the solutions upon they are cost, time, food portions, accessibility and availability.
The reason for choosing these four criteria are based on the issues that were found in X child care centre and how evaluating the solutions based on these can help implement the solutions in a more effective way. One problem identified in child care X was that they served different meals opposed to what was planned because they ran out of food and their budget did not allow any room for more costs. So evaluating our solution based on cost would help see if a solution is possible with accordance to their budget.
Also the reasoning behind choosing accessibility nd availability was the question what foods are available in the centre if unhealthy options are available how can you change that to offer more healthy alternatives and would they be more accessible. The criteria of time is viewed as the centre having enough time to implement these changes and based on how they cook the meals. Do they have enough time to bake or fry some of the meals. Another issue found when analyzing the information gathered was the food portions. By viewing food portions one can see how providing to much food involves loss of inventory and waste of food.
By evaluating solutions based on food potions the centre will get a sense of how much to buy. Which can also benefit the budget. With these problems I have come up with solutions. The solutions are: 1. Displaying attractive, current promotional materials (e. g. posters and displays, etc) related to healthy eating. 2. Participating in professional development opportunities and activities related to healthy eating, this may include Eat right Ontario, the Eat Smart! Program. and Nutrition Month activities. 3. Revamp menu that can be followed through with and incorporate more healthy food options that can fit in you budget without going over .
When viewing the possible solutions we examined the strengths and weakness of how this can affect the child care centre by using the four criteria. When examining the first solution proposed displaying attractive, current promotional materials (e. g. posters and displays ect) related to healthy eating we came across possible benefits in implementing it. By having posters and displays will allow parents to implement health eating habits at home and continue what the centre is doing.
Also having posters show how committed the centre in promoting healthy and nutrition among children . A Passionate environment allows others to learn about various nutritional ideas. Also by having a bulletin board regarding healthy and nutrition the centre can gather resources from the community such as referrals for parents that want more information on healthy eating for children. However with these benefits we came across some implications that may affect the centre wanting to create posters/ bulletin boards.
The negatives that come with this solution is the cost of getting all the materials for the bulletin board such as, poster, decoration and copies of flyers/brochures. Another negative would be the amount of time it will take to create posters, receive resources from the community and decorate the display. For the second solution Participating in professional development opportunities and activities related to healthy eating the benefits were increases the knowledge and awareness of Educators for them to implement healthy eating with in the classroom, accessible and available for all.
One ECE goes and reports back to centre and staff about what they learned and implementing learned material at professional developmental programs to benefit the centre. Some issues that may arise with this solution are that that the professional developmental program cost varies and the child care may not have enough staff to cover if one goes to professional developmental program.
The last solution proposed for this problem is to Revamp/create a new menu for the child care centre that can be followed through with incorporating more healthy food options that fit in the budget. The benefits for this solution are that it creates a healthier environment can be revised to fit budget, parents might adapt that healthy environment at home. The negatives surrounding this solution is that it is time consuming having to look at your budget and design a new menu that has to be implemented, cost May vary at the beginning of recreating the menu.
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