Mealtimes | Portions

Why it’s important to know:

. Important for parents to focus on age-appropriate serving sizes and creating a positive mealtime environment.

. As a baby develops the types of foods and quanitities change. 

. It's important to know how much food is appropriate for a child so we can provide them with what they need for healthy growth.

Summary of tips for toddlers

. Give bite-size pieces of soft food, and a spoon

. Offer food at a different time

. Offer snacks and meals at the same time each day.

. Be enthusiastic about foods

. Be flexible to prepare foods in different ways (roasted vs steamed, for example)

HANDOUT (ENGLISH) 

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

CRAFT: My plate coloring page

Cute Girl Eating Apple
Eat a Rainbow

Why it’s important to know

• Eating fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors ensures your child is receiving a variety of nutrients.

. Even at a young age, children grasp the concept of 'eating a rainbow'.

. Help your child get important nutrients like potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.

. Provide dietary fiber to help your child feel full. This makes bathroom time easier, too.

. Add color, crunch, and flavor to meals or snacks.

. Help your child develop healthy eating habits that may reduce the risk of certain diseases, like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, later in life.

Summary of  how to do:

• Eat together

. Prepare food togther

. Make vegetable fun

. Choose different colors

. Shop together and choose a different vegetable each week

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

CRAFT: MY PLATE COLORING SHEET

Fruits
PICKY EATERS

Why it’s important to know

•It's helpful to know how to cope with picky eating so you can consistently introduce new and healthy foods 

. "Choosy eating is common among preschoolers. Your child may eat only certain types of foods. He or she may play at the table and not want to eat. Don’t worry. As long as your child has energy and is growing, he or she is most likely eating enough.

Summary of  how to connect through play:

• Pay attention to what your child eats each week

. Trust your child's appetite.  Don't force them to eat something they don't want.

. Set reasonable time limits for mealtimes.

. Stay positive. Don't label your child 'difficult' or 'picky'.

. Offer healthy options as a choice, e.g. broccoli or carrots?

VIDEO

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

GAME: VEGGIE DICE

Avocado
NUTRITION FACTS + LABELS

Why it’s important to know

•Being familiar with reading labels on food packaging make it easier to ​make healthy food choices

. Parents can reduce their child's intake of added sugars, salt and saturated and trans fats.

Summary of  what to practice:

• Notice the serving size on the package

. Notice the percent (%) daily value. It tells you how much of a nutrient is in one serving of food–compared to the amount you need each day.

. Make calories count - choose healthful foods (those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, etc. but lower in calorie content.

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

GAME: VEGGIE DICE

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CHOKING PREVENTION

Why it’s important to know

. Children under age 4 are at the greatest risk of choking

. Can make the choice to avoid foods that foods pose choking risks and serve easy-to-chew foods

Summary of  how to prevent choking:

• Prepare food in certain ways, such as cutting food into small pieces and cooking hard food, like carrots, until it is soft enough to pierce with a fork.

. Always supervise children during meals and snacks.

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

GAME: PROTEIN SORTING GAME

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HEALTHY SNACKS

Why it’s important to know

. Snacks are small meals. They help provide the nutrition and energy your child needs to grow, play, and learn.

. Offering a variety of healthy foods as snacks helps kids get the nutrients and fiber they need for good health.

Summary of  how to choose healthy snacks:

• Create smiley faces with pieces of fruit

. Cut thin strips of bell pepper and let kids dip into hummus

. Blend plain water and low-fat milk to make a 'smart drink'

. Decorate snack packs with stickers or drawings so they're perceived as just as fun as unhealthy snacks

. Use cookie cutters to make shapes in things like whole-grain bread, low-fat cheese, watermelon, etc ... , 

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

GAME: PROTEIN SORTING GAME

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WHOLE GRAINS

Why it’s important to know

. It's important to know that whole grains are a healthier choice, and what the dietary sources of whole grains are.

. Whole grains have B vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep your child strong and healthy.

 

Summary of  how to eat more whole grains:

• Choose whole-wheat bread, rolls, bagels

. Whole-grain cereal

. Brown rice; whole-wheat pasta, crackers, etc.

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

GAME: IDENTIFY WHICH FOODS ARE WHOLE-GRAIN (ON HANDOUT)

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MILK + STRONG BONES

Why it’s important to know

. Milk is necessary for bone strength and growth

. Milk provides vitamins, minerals and protein

. Notice if your child is feeling bloated or has stomach pains from drinking milk.

 

Summary of  how to encourage milk:

• Take changes in milk slowly (see handout)

. Make smoothies

. Let your child choose a favorite cup

. Be a healthy role model

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

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Additional Resources

Additional Resources for Pre-K Nutrition Curriculum

Nibbles for Health (available in English and Spanish)

5210 Childcare Curriculum

Supplmentary Material/Teacher's Guide

USDA Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children

 

Supplement C: Encourage Healthful Foods

Supplement D: Create a Positive Meal Environment

Supplement E: Supplement Family Style Meals

Cute Girl Eating Apple
HELPING IN THE KITCHEN

Why it’s important to know

. Children that help with food preparation are more likely to feel comfortable and confident to try new foods

. Children are less likely to reject foods that they help to make.

Summary of  how to encourage helping out:

• Toddlers love to feel like they're helping out

. Give them small age-appropriate jobs to do feel involved (see additional handout for ideas)
. Make sure to praise anything positive they do, praise their effort; appreciate their improvement. 

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

ADDITIONAL HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

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EVERYDAY VS SOMETIMES FOOD

Why it’s important to know

. Helps you and your family make smart food choices.

. Builds awareness of estimated calorie requirements to determine how much of certain foods to eat to maintain energy balance.

• GO Foods—Eat almost anytime.
• SLOW Foods—Eat sometimes, or less often.
• WHOA Foods—Eat only once in a while or on special occasions.

Summary of  how to encourage everyday foods:

• Use the stoplight method to distinguish between everyday 

. Keep the handout on your refrigerator so you can check when necessary

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

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EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

Why it’s important to know

. Making healthy choices doesn't have to be more expensive.

. Learn how to make smarter food choices so you help your child develop healthy eating habits.

 

Summary of  how to make healthier choices on a budget:

• See  handout for suggestions

HANDOUT (ENGLISH)

HANDOUT (SPANISH)

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Nutrition/Nutrición