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The Benefits of Early Childhood Nutrition - An Overview of The Dibber Meal Concept


Image of Kids having nutritious Dibber meals

The first few years of life are a whirlwind of growth and development. From babbling to boundless energy, your child is constantly changing. But did you know that proper nutrition plays a critical role in supporting this incredible journey?


From ages 0 to 6, children undergo rapid growth and development, requiring a healthy diet to support their bodies. Providing fresh, well-balanced, and nutritious meals during this crucial stage offers numerous advantages for young ones, including fueling their energy for activities, fostering strong teeth, bones, and muscles, and providing defense against future illnesses. Encouraging healthy eating habits during childhood contributes to the development of physical and mental health and establishes a positive connection with food.


For children’s healthy growth and brain development, it is essential to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their daily diet. The eating habits formed in early childhood can influence our dietary choices as we age. That is why introducing young children to a diverse range of nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables, is crucial.


What Are the Benefits of Good Nutrition for Early Child Development?


1. Behavioral and Psychological Benefits - Children who eat nutritious meals tend to have better focus, concentration, and memory, leading to better academic outcomes. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), Maryland, USA, "Breakfast (especially) has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance." Young minds also learn to cope with stress and regulate their emotions better. They can navigate common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression when their overall nutrition is optimal.


2. Physical Benefits – Complex carbohydrates, vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats help cognitive development and build well-fortified muscles, and strong neural connections. Protein, calcium, and other essential minerals are vital for healthy bones and overall physical development. It also helps develop immunity, fight off infections, and issues related to malnutrition. Most importantly, child obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, which are huge global concerns can be controlled with good nutrition and healthy eating habits developed early on.


The Dibber Meal Concept – Nutrient-rich Foods and Healthy Eating Habits for Children


The Dibber Meal is an essential component for building connections—with people and with food. Sharing a delicious meal is a wonderful experience. A child’s development relies on good nutrition and social skills that are ingrained in our revolutionary Dibber Meal Concept. It not only tries to cultivate a healthy relationship with food but encourages children to learn about sourcing ingredients, the benefits of good nutrition, and foster fellowship through shared meal experiences with peers. They also develop fine motor skills, which increases their confidence to handle mealtimes by themselves.


Dibber Meal’s purpose is more than just providing nutritious food to children while they are at the Dibber units. It is to educate and facilitate each child to daily experience joyous, healthy meals that enhance their learning ability and life skills. Every child will learn to make nutritious, sustainable, and lasting food choices.


There are 3 important aspects to the Dibber Meal Concept:


1. Cultivation – The aim here is to promote healthy food habits, create opportunities to experience flavors and positive memories around food. The idea is to cultivate a love for food and the social well-being that healthy food and positive relationships garner. Fellowship is seen as an essential parameter here that influences a child’s growth and happiness. There is also emphasis on fostering autonomy, so children are confident to eat by themselves. This shared meal experience gives way to experimenting with food, effectively promoting taste training.


2. Health – Meals are packed with good nutrients that supplement a child’s needs for growth and brain development to allow their minds and bodies to function optimally. Therefore, we have conversations around foods and food choices to stress the importance of choosing healthy options. However, health is more than just what goes into preparing the food. Mindfulness during mealtimes is also a key factor that influences health overtime. Sitting together with family or friends and enjoying a meal slowly and happily helps the body absorb nutrients better and facilitates digestion. Healthy eating is a habit and just like any other habit, it is learned by practice.


3. Sustainability – Engaging children in sustainable practices right from an early age can help cultivate the right habits. Food disposal and wastage are significant global concerns, and it is important for future generations to learn how to conserve the health of our planet. In line with this, children are introduced to the importance of local sourcing, reducing food wastage, and adopting sustainable practices for food disposal and recycling.


The Dibber Meal Concept is the brainchild of Frode Selvaag, Global Head of Food Services and The Dibber Meal at Dibber Headquarters (Norway), and Victoria Lunde, Concept & Business Developer at Dibber Headquarters. Together, they are on a mission to implement the Dibber Meal Concept across our units globally, so that children are eating a balanced diet in a nurturing environment. Meals are customized and served, keeping in mind religious and cultural food preferences in different regions.


Make Mealtime a Joyful Adventure


Just like a car needs the right fuel to run smoothly, your child's body needs the right nutrients to thrive. Child nutrition is and should be a big consideration for parents, and we are committed towards making nutrition a healthy and joyful experience for children by fostering values and lifelong skills along with a love for food. These happy childhood memories go a long way in sustaining healthy habits throughout life.


We know mealtimes with young children can sometimes be messy and unpredictable. But by prioritizing good nutrition in the early years, you're investing in your child's future well-being. So, let's make mealtimes a fun and enriching experience, one nutritious wholesome bite at a time!

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