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May 25, 2012
For immediate release
Healthy eating guidelines introduced
Education and Early Childhood Development
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Children attending early years centres in Prince Edward Island will benefit from new healthy eating guidelines, says Education and Early Childhood Development Minister, Alan McIsaac.
“The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is pleased to partner with the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance on this important initiative that offers support to early childhood educators and centres across the province,” said Minister McIsaac. “Research shows that eating healthy meals and snacks will help children stay more focused and become better learners. These lessons will carry on through the early years to school and on to adulthood.”
Healthy eating guidelines were developed in consultation with early childhood operators, educators, dietitians, government representatives, academics and other key stakeholders. They are designed to assist early childhood operators, educators and staff in understanding the components of healthy eating while taking into consideration the nutritional needs of the child as well as budgets and planning. The goal is to encourage early years centres to maintain supportive environments which promote healthy food choices.
“Developing habits of good nutrition at an earlier age will certainly benefit our children, families and the entire health care system over time,” said Doug Currie, Minister of Health and Wellness. “It’s encouraging to see partners such as the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance working with early childhood educators who are such positive role models for healthy living.”
As part of the pilot project, a representative from the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance visited ten early learning centres in March, 2012. This support included providing resources, reviewing menus and offering practical suggestions for improving the nutritional quality of the foods served. The healthy eating guidelines are now available to all early years centres in Prince Edward Island.
“The guidelines recognize the importance of offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, milk and milk alternatives, and lean meat and meat alternatives,” said Ashley Murphy, a Registered Dietitian with the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance. “We also recommend limiting the amount of processed foods served, since these foods are often higher in sodium, sugar and/or fats. The feedback is very positive and parents are pleased to know their children are eating healthy meals which leads to healthier lifestyles.”
The new healthy eating guidelines are available at www.gov.pe.ca/eecd. For more information, please contact the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance.