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Healthy Eating & Play for Preschoolers

Healthy eating and play for preschool-aged kids is essential to their cognitive, motor, and emotional development. Play helps your child stay active and healthy, and healthy eating sets your child up for success and fosters a taste for wellness. For this reason, our top priority is helping your child get to healthy as easily and quickly as possible. Importantly, making time for active play and cooking healthy, nutritious food is the easiest way to start a life-long path to healthy.

The importance of active play

The importance of play should not be underestimated. Not only does play foster creativity and promote social development, but it also keeps your preschooler active and advances cognitive development. Also, it strengthens child-parent bonds.

Setting aside time for active, free play with your preschooler has numerous benefits, including teaching your child how to interact with his world.

Play is essential for:

  • Staying healthy physically
  • Cognitive development
  • Motor skills development
  • Learning how to interact with the world around him
  • Facing fears
  • Increasing child-parent bond
  • Social skills development
  • Eye-brain connection development
  • Developing resiliency
  • Problem-solving skills development
  • Teamwork
  • Staying physically active
  • Fostering creativity
  • Creating his own boundaries

There are a number of other benefits of free, unstructured play. Letting your preschooler make his own rules for games and exploring the world around him creatively will help him in all aspects of his life. So, if you’re struggling to find time or energy for free play with your preschooler, talk to Dr. Moemeka about some ideas or strategies to make sure your child gets the playtime he needs to grow up healthy.

Healthy eating for preschoolers

Healthy eating is essential to your child’s ability to grow up healthy. Normalizing healthy foods early will help instill a love for healthy eating. However, making sure your child gets enough fruits and veggies can be a challenge, especially if your child is a particularly picky eater.

Cooking at home, no matter how “healthy” a restaurant claims to be, is always healthier. There are many ways to make yummy, healthy foods that your preschooler will actually enjoy, even if you have to sneak the veggies in.

Ways to sneak fruits & veggies into food

  • Chop it finely and add it to pasta sauce, soup, or chili
  • Add them to smoothies
  • Add them to meatballs, sloppy joes, or burgers
  • Get creative with baking and try avocado brownies or zucchini bread

How often should my child eat?

As a preschooler, your child should have 3 meals and 3 snacks per day.

  • Breakfast
  • Morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon snack
  • Dinner
  • Bedtime snack

Once your child is a little older, you can drop the bedtime snack. While he is rapidly growing and developing, however, it is important that he gets the nutrition he needs to grow up healthy.

Remember: snacks should never replace meals.

If you are struggling with healthy eating and active play or want some advice, talk to Dr. Moemeka about how you can set you preschooler up for success during your next appointment. Call Mark9 Pediatrics today at (972) 325-2005 or request an appointment online to get your child on the road to healthy.

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