Teaching Children About Nutrition During Meals

We have developed five, brief instructional videos on how early care providers and parents can educate children (up to age five) about nutrition during meals through conversation — by asking questions, making statements, setting rules, and praising good behavior.

Nutrition is an important part of ensuring child health. Nutrition “learning experiences for children” is a standard in Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards (3rd edition)1 (http://cfoc.nrckids.org).

Introduction to Teaching Children About Nutrition During Meals

This introductory video explains more about these instructional videos and other resources on this website. (2:44)

Workbook: Teaching Children About Nutrition During Meals

This workbook guides you through these videos. It also provides opportunities to reflect on what is being taught in the videos and consider conversations you might have with the child(ren) in your early care center or home.

Video 1: Teaching Taste, Texture, and Color

This video instructs you to educate children about the taste, texture, and color of foods through conversations during meals. (1:45)

Video 2: Teaching Nutritional Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods

This video instructs you to educate children about the nutritional benefits of eating healthy foods through conversation during meals. (1:51)

Video 3: Teaching Portion Size

This video instructs you to educate children about portion size during meals, using a three-step process. (1:40)

Video 4: Teaching Verbal Praise

It is important for children to have positive experiences with healthy foods. One way you can make eating healthy foods into a positive experience is by using verbal praise. Verbal praise simply means saying positive things about a child's behavior. This video instructs you to provide verbal praise through conversation during meals. (1:58)

Video 5: Putting It All Together

This video features one meal and shows how an early care provider:
1) Teaches taste, texture, and color
2) Teaches nutritional benefits
3) Teaches portion size
4) Verbally praises children for their positive behaviors related to food (2:11)

Contact

For correspondence, please contact:

Daniel J. Schober, PhD, MPH
Research Scientist
Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition
DSchober@CenterForNutrition.org

Acknowledgements

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Preventing Childhood Obesity Community Grant provided funding for TeachKidsNutrition.org. Thank you to the members of the Omaha Nutrition Education Collaborative and to everyone who participated in an interview to develop these resources.

References

1 American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. 2012. Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education: Selected Standards from Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd Edition. http://nrckids.org/CFOC3/PDFVersion/preventing_obesity.pdf