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🌈 Muddy Boots Eat the Rainbow Programme 🌈
During the first 1000 days of a child's life is a time of rapid growth and development. A varied, balanced diet is essential for the normal growth and development of their bones, their cognitive development, their immune systems and to support normal brain function. Good nutrition in a child's early years can also aid with healthy tooth development and prevent decay. This is also a vital time to set eating habits and patterns that continue throughout life.
More recent research in to our gut microbiota has also shown that a healthy varied diet in a child's early years helps to develop a lovely healthy microflora which supports physical health and emotional health later in life.
This is why at Muddy Boots we feel this is an area that can't be forgotten. Dani (one of the directors) has recently completed her masters in Nutrition and is now a registered nutritionist, specialising in Early life nutrition. In Sept 2021 we launched the Muddy Boots Eat the Rainbow Programme, where essentially we are encouraging variety into children's diets.
Eat the Rainbow Programme 🌈
On average children need 8-10 exposures to a food before that food becomes accepted by the child. Research suggests that familiarity increases chances of eating, this is known as the learned safety theory and mere exposure theory, where essentially, knowing is liking, for example the things we see in our environment we tend to like more. This is the theory that underpins the Eat the Rainbow programme.
How the programme works 🌈
Each term we select 5 different colours of fruits or vegetables, that are not the everyday ones, for example dragonfruit. For that term we increase the children's exposure to that fruit or veg, by putting pictures in the environment, talking about where it comes from and also having it available at snack to try, smell or touch.
By the end of the term the children have had repeated exposure to the food without pressure from anyone to it. We are hoping this theory will mean by the end of term all the children are eating the 5 selected fruit or vegetables increasing the variety in their diets.
What can you do at home to support the programme? 🌈
We will let you know each term which 5 foods we have selected, if you wanted to increase the exposure and try the foods at home, or put photos of the foods around we would be so grateful as this is likely to help the success of the programme.
Role modelling - children learn best from the people around them, so wherever possible role model eating the selected fruits or veg, offering encouragement to the children without them feeling pressured!
Hopefully you will see an improvement at home but we will keep you updated with how the programme is going!
The 5 fruits we are trying in the Summer term are...
In the spring term the foods we exposed ourselves too were...
In the Autumn term the foods we exposed ourselves too were...
Child Nutrition blog
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