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Yummy Carrot Sticks! How Children Learn to Like Nutritious Foods.

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Presentation on theme: "Yummy Carrot Sticks! How Children Learn to Like Nutritious Foods."— Presentation transcript:

1 Yummy Carrot Sticks! How Children Learn to Like Nutritious Foods

2 Rethinking Nutrition Workshop Series 1.Yummy Carrot Sticks: How Children Learn to Like Nutritious Foods Avoiding food power struggles, Role modeling healthy eating 2.What’s for Snack? Nutrition to Support Healthy Growth Good nutrition, Lifelong food habits, Obesity 3.Cupcakes for Lunch? Creating a Food & Nutrition Policy for Your Early Care & Education Program Nutrition policy, Family food practices 4.Count, Read, Share: The Meal Table as a Learning Center Mealtime learning activities, Life skills, Social skills


4 What would an early care and education center that promoted poor nutrition and unhealthy attitudes toward food look like?

5 What we do matters. Nutrition habits learned early can last a lifetime.

6 Learning from Others Children learn from others about food through: 1.Role Modeling Actions intended to teach a specific way of eating or behaving at mealtime. 2.Social Learning Children’s observations and responses to our (sometimes unintentional) reactions to food and mealtime habits.


8 What We Do & What Kids Eat One year-olds are Driven to explore their environment (especially through tasting it!). What we do matters because Repeated opportunities to taste food allow 1-year olds to sample nutritious foods – even if they reject the food the first time.

9 Taste Test! Expose children to new foods 10-20 times (at least) Plan activities that allow children to taste the same foods repeatedly Talk to children about different foods Incorporate foods you’ve tried into the regular menu

10 What We Do & What Kids Eat Two year-olds may be Less hungry as their growth slows. What we do matters because Adults can (and should) provide nutritious food, but two year-olds can decide which foods and how much of those foods to eat.

11 Kids need help making healthy choices. Children don’t need special “kids” meals Children not already full of sugary or salty snacks will be hungry for the food served at meals or snacks. Avoid power struggles by offering two healthy choices and letting the child choose one. Bribing doesn’t work Expose children to new foods repeatedly. Serve new foods next to familiar foods, and let children be rewarded by enjoying the food or a pleasant mealtime.

12 What We Do & What Kids Eat Three to five year-olds are Particular about their food and have definite food likes and dislikes, typically based on the food messages they hear and experience. What we do matters because Exposing 3-5 year-olds to healthy messages about food by sharing activities and books emphasizing nutritious foods can minimize the impact of kids’ exposure to food ads on TV.

13 When Kids Eat & What Is Learned Infants should Be allowed to eat whenever they are hungry. Infants learn that Food will be available when they are hungry.

14 When Kids Eat & What Is Learned Children should Be allowed to stop eating when they are full. Children learn to Recognize their body’s hungry and full cues. Tip: Schedule meals and snacks 2-3 hours apart so kids are hungry at mealtimes, but don’t get overly hungry.

15 Many young children have families that do not have regular routines, so children do not know when to expect their next meal or snack. Do you know children who might fit this description? How can you guide their behavior to fit the social expectations of your early care & education setting?

16 What We Do & How Kids Eat The expectations adults set around mealtime behaviors and the ways adults act while eating with or feeding children can teach children that mealtime is a pleasant, relaxed, and cheerful event. What could you as a caregiver do to communicate this message to infants? To 1-2 year olds? To 3-5 year olds?

17 What We Do & How Kids Eat Set age-appropriate limits Example: 1-2 year-olds should be allowed to eat with utensils and their fingers to allow them to slowly master their motor skills. However, older children should be expected to use utensils when needed. Explain expectations Example: Children must wait for everyone to be served before beginning to eat.

18 What We Do & How Kids Eat Serve as a positive role model Respond to negative behavior by describing, modeling, and reinforcing the more acceptable behavior Example: If children are not passing food around the table, show them how and then ask them to pass the food after serving themselves. Encourage them when you see them passing food appropriately.

19 Activity: Involving Others 1.Make a list of your early care & education setting’s mealtime and food habits and expectations Example: Do children need to wash their hands before eating? Sit at a table together? Try certain foods? 2.Write a letter or handout to communicate this list with parents and families OR create a poster to communicate this list with classroom volunteers and/or visitors.

20 Summary Our job is to provide a variety of healthy, tasty foods to children; the child’s job is to decide what and how much to eat. Schedule meals and snacks at regular intervals Allow children to ask for more if they are still hungry or not eat if they are not hungry Provide positive reinforcement for healthy eating Be a positive (and healthy) role model.

21 “Children need adults to be supportive and companionable, to show them what it means to grow up with respect toward food, and to give them opportunities to experiment and master.” - Ellyn Satter (2008)

22 Development of this educational program was made possible by a generous donation from an alumna of the School of Human Ecology, UW- Madison.

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