Resources for Nurturing Healthy Eaters

Promote healthy eating habits in your family child care or early education program with these resources and lesson plans.

Administrative Resources

Best Practices for Healthy Eating: In this guide from Nemours, find tips for healthy food choices, appropriate portion sizes, engaging children and motivating picky eaters. Also available are tips and tools for reading nutrition labels, tip sheets for families, and sample policies for use in your program and with families. Also available in Spanish.

Child and Adult Care Food Program: Using the Updated Meal Patterns to Lower Costs provides guidance for CACFP centers and family child care homes to help keep costs low while implementing updated meal patterns. It includes examples of nutritious meals that meet new meal patterns by making simple, low-cost switches.

Children Facing Food Insecurity (PDF): Having enough quality food to feed our families is something many people take for granted. However, one in five U.S. families does not have access at all times to enough food to live a healthy, active life. This guide from Nemours teaches how food insecurity affects children in early care and education programs, and how you can support children and parents dealing with food insecurity.

Family Style Dining Toolkit: This guide is intended to help early care and learning professionals and their programs, including centerbased, family child care, Head Start and public preschools, successfully implement Family Style Dining practices. This guide focuses on serving meals family style with toddlers and preschoolers, though afterschool programs may adopt these practices as well.

Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs (USDA): This manual helps you and your purchasing agent buy the right amount of food, the appropriate type of food, and determine the specific contribution each food makes toward the meal pattern requirements.

Growing Fit Kit: The Georgia Department of Public Health (in collaboration with Georgia Shape, HealthMPowers, Inc. and the Department of Early Care and Learning) developed the Growing Fit Kit, a guide to develop or improve child care policies around nutrition and physical activity.

Healthy Bites: A Wisconsin guide for improving childhood nutrition. Provides a self-assessment to allow early care and education programs to freely assess their own environment, program policies and practices as they relate to nutrition. The guide also suggests key areas for improvement and information on how to implement strategies.

Healthy Eating Resource List: This comprehensive list of resources from Penn State’s Better Kid Care lessons and Nemours includes off-the-shelf curricula and toolkits, videos, healthy recipes, menu planning and prepping ideas, information on CACFP, learning about hunger cues in preschoolers, and self-assessment tools.

Healthy Vending : You and your program can play an important role in supporting healthy eating habits by making healthy vending options available and attractive to children and adults. This guide from Nemours will help you choose healthier products by providing healthy vending guidelines for food and beverage products, sample policies and more.

Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP Curriculum): INEP is a creative and fun way for kids to learn about healthy eating in their classroom and to share what they learn with their families. Each lesson includes a hands-on cooking activity that teaches students how to prepare and taste new fruits and vegetables (also in Spanish).

New Meal Pattern Guidelines for CACFP: Early care and education programs who receive food program assistance–USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)–have until October 1, 2017 to be in compliance with new CACFP guidelines. Make sure your menus and procurement reflect these changes.

School Wellness Policy: Best Practices for Policy Development, Implementation and Evaluation from the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction is designed to help schools implement wellness policies. Policies should include: involvement of stakeholders; goals for nutrition guidelines for all foods available at school, nutrition education and promotion, as well as physical education and activity; notifications; and monitoring and evaluation.

Successful Menu Planning (PDF): This resource is designed for child nutrition professionals interested in learning the current USDA Menu Planning Requirements. Topics include breakfast and lunch meal patterns, the whole grain requirement, fruit and vegetable requirements, offer versus serve, sodium requirements, and others. In addition, related resources and tools to assist in successful menu planning are provided.

Taking Steps to Healthy Success—Family Style Dining: Better Kid Care, through PennState Extension, provides a list of tools and information about family style dining. Resources include off-the-shelf curricula and toolkits, videos, tip sheets, and information on family engagement.

Taking Steps to Healthy Success—Healthy Eating: Better Kid Care, through PennState Extension, provides a list of tools and information about healthy eating. Resources include off-the-shelf curricula and toolkits; videos; recipes; self-assessments; and information on planning menus, CACFP, hunger cues, and picky eating.

USDA Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit: Engage school staff and parents in school wellness using these ready-to-go communication tools. Sharing news about your Local School Wellness Policy is easy with these flyers, presentations, newsletter articles and social media posts. Your school can personalize them to make them specific to your Local School Wellness Policy activities.

Equity in Healthy Eating

Addressing inequities in healthy eating (Health Promotion International): What, when, where and how much people eat is influenced by a complex mix of factors at societal, community and individual levels. These influences operate both directly through the food system and indirectly through political, economic, social and cultural pathways that cause social stratification and influence the quality of conditions in which people live their lives. These factors are the social determinants of inequities in healthy eating. This paper provides an overview of the current evidence base for addressing these determinants and for the promotion of equity in healthy eating.

Barriers to Equity in Nutritional Health for U.S. Children and Adolescents: A Review of the Literature (Springer Link): U.S. children and adolescents from low-income and ethnic/racial minority backgrounds experience greater risk for obesity and poor nutrition. In addition, a growing body of evidence documents differences in obesity and dietary patterns between urban and rural areas. This review summarizes evidence of relevance to U.S. disparities according to socioeconomic status, ethnicity/race, and area population density among children ages 2-18 years. A comprehensive review of peer-reviewed literature published after January 2004 is presented along with a brief discussion of limitations in design and future research needs.

Eating, Feeding, Meal Planning, and Nutrition for Child with Nutritional Difficulties: The HIE Help Center provides resources on nutrition for kids with disabilities. Kids with disabilities often face unique feeding challenges and require very specific diets.

Health equity & junk food marketing: Talking about targeting kids of color (Berkeley Media Studies Group): To ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible, we must remove obstacles to health. In the United States, junk food marketing to children is one of those obstacles because it encourages unhealthy diets and, ultimately, fuels disease. Such marketing is also a racial and health equity issue because junk food companies specifically target children and youth of color. This brief shows why children of color should be at the forefront of conversations about and actions to reduce target marketing, and suggest how we all can get better at discussing this critical public health and social justice issue.

Targeting Food and Beverage TV Ads at Minority and Low Income Children (Bridging the Gap Research): Marketing of foods and beverages that are unhealthy (i.e. high in saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium) to children and adolescents is a probable contributor to the prevalence of childhood obesity. This study focused on 88 of the largest designated marketing areas (DMAs) in the US. It linked DMA-level Nielsen English language television ratings data from 2003-2007 on the number of televised food ads to Census data on racial, ethnic, and income characteristics across DMAs. The study analyzed differences in children’s and adolescents’ exposure to local spot food ads based on the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of the DMA.

Farming & Gardening

Early Introductions to Sensory Gardens: Infants and toddlers are often thought of as “too young” to be involved in gardening, but they can be engaged through watering, harvesting, digging, and exploring.

Early Learning Gardening Guide (North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition): This guide is useful on its own or with the book Square Foot Gardening. Children will enjoy any type of gardening or growing experience including container gardening in a pot or bucket.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Farm to School (NFSN): The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes many new opportunities for the integration of farm to school and ECE activities in educational settings. This toolkit is designed for educators, advocates, parents, and farm to school and ECE stakeholders to understand and act upon the opportunities ESSA provides.

Farm to Early Care and Education Funding Opportunity: Leveraging the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program (NFSN and Policy Equity Group)

Farm to Early Childhood Programs — A Step-By-Step Guide: This guide provides tools and resources to help early childhood program providers of all types purchase and use local foods.

Farm to Preschool: Nutrition and garden-based preschool education curricula, advice on starting new gardens, parent education workshop templates and resources promoting healthy eating.

Farm to Preschool Presentation (PDF): Explains the basics of Farm to Preschool, the goals of the movement, steps to get started and resources to support your efforts.

Farm to Preschool Toolkit: This toolkit contains information about getting started with Farm to Preschool, rules and regulations, recommendations for local procurement, and monthly resources.

Farm to School Bookshelf: Find books for teaching preschoolers about gardening, cooking, farms and food.

Farm to School in Early Childhood: Survey Results: In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country to better understand their current farm to school initiatives, motivations for applying farm to school, and challenges to starting or expanding these activities.

Food Safety from Farm and Garden to Preschool Training Program (U Mass): The free, online, self-paced, interactive program was created to help early childcare educators, food service staff, volunteers and parents understand the importance of reducing the risk of food safety related to fresh fruits and vegetables for young children.

Food Safety Tips for School Gardens: These best practices will help enhance the safety of fruits and vegetables grown in school gardens.

Garden Greenhouses (Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders’ Magazine): This article presents an interview with Jennifer Petersen, a preschool teacher at the Mead School — an independent school and child care in Stamford, Connecticut with a vibrant gardening and greenhouse curriculum.

Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children (Guide to Community Preventive Services): This one page handout summarizes recommendations and systematic review evidence for the use of school-based gardening interventions in combination with nutrition education to increase children’s vegetable consumption.

Getting Started With Farm to Preschool Tip Sheet: Easy first steps to develop a lasting farm to preschool program in your community

Grants (Kids Gardening): Finding the financial resources to plant and maintain a youth garden is one of the biggest obstacles educators and volunteers face. Here is a list of some grant opportunities that support youth garden programs.

The GREEN Tool (Garden Resources, Education, and Environment Nexus) For Well-Integrated School Gardens: This research brief describes a background study that led to the conception of the GREEN Tool and highlights how it can be used to strengthen school gardens. The purpose of the study was to examine which components make up a well-integrated garden in schools and to determine how those components work together.

Growing Farm to Preschool in Your State—A How-To Guide (Ecotrust): A state-level approach to farm to preschool is key to bringing local food and garden education to child care centers nationally. Here’s a 5-step guide to constructing a farm to preschool coalition

Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education (NFSN): Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education aims to promote understanding amongst Head Start stakeholders on how Farm to ECE can support achievement of Head Start Program Performance Standards and actively contributes to learning and development benchmarks as outlined in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework.

A Guide to Understanding Farm to School Opportunities in Early Care and Education Settings (National Farm to School Network): This resource is intended to facilitate a shared understanding of the early care and education sector and the natural opportunities to integrate farm to school initiatives into early care and education settings.

How to Bring Farm Fresh into Schools with New USDA Meal Pattern Recipes (archived webinar): The Chef Ann Foundation launched fifty new, tried-and-true, farm-to-school recipes to bring farm fresh meals to students. In this webinar, they release the new recipes and menu cycles and discuss how they credit toward schools and new child care meal patterns. Plus, Andrea Northup from USDA Farm to School and Jerilin Nunu from USDA Farm to Summer and Child Care talk about how school districts across the nation are procuring food from local and regional farms and ranches. They also share best practices for lunchroom-based nutrition education.

How to Incorporate Gardening in Your Early Care and Education Program (pre-recorded webinar): Join Nemours Children’s Health System in a conversation around creating vegetable gardens. Explore ways to create a vegetable garden in your program. During this webinar, participants will learn: how to build a vegetable garden, tips for making the process affordable, alternatives to vegetable gardens, seasonal vegetables and fruits at the local farmer’s market, and success stories. Nemours Healthy Living and Nutrition Office Hours is hosted by Adaobi Nwoka, MPH.

Local Procurement for Child Care Centers Fact Sheet and Local Procurement for Family Child Care Providers Fact Sheet: These fact sheets outline basic recommendations for child care centers and family child care providers interested in purchasing local foods for early child care and education programs.

Local Foods — Childcare Center Production Gardens: This publication is a complete “how-to” guide about fruit and vegetable gardening with children. It teaches childcare providers how to engage young children in using fresh produce from a production garden for cooking and eating, as well as instructions on composting. The guide is in eight well-organized brief chapters, complete with age-appropriate instructions on: (1) Growing and Cooking Fruits and Vegetables, including safety precautions and tools required; (2) Creating Childcare Center Production Gardens, including location considerations and types of layouts; (3) Growing Warm-Season Fruits and Vegetables, including planting options and growing guidelines; (4) Growing Cool-Season Vegetables, including how to plant and harvest specific vegetables; (5) Snacking and Cooking With Warm- Season Produce, including recipes for salads, dips, salsas and cooked vegetables; (6) Snacking and Cooking With Cool-Season Produce, including recipes for salads, as well as for roasted, sauteed and braised vegetables; (7) Composting, including guidance on design, construction and management of compost bins; and (8) Vermicomposting, including selection, safety, educating children on and handling of the correct earthworms.

My First Garden (University of Illinois Extension): Get ready to make learning about gardens, flowers, vegetables and the principles of horticulture a fun experience for yourself and for the children you teach (also available in Spanish).

National Farm to School Network, Farm to Preschool: Find information from the National Farm to School Network on the basics of farm to preschool, getting started with farm to preschool, and information on local procurement for child care centers and home based child care.

National Farm to School Network Resource Database: The National Farm to School Network has reviewed and compiled farm to preschool resources from across the country to create this user friendly database.

National Farm to School Network Trending Topics Webinars: Join the National Farm to School Network for a monthly webinar series featuring innovation and emerging issues in farm to school. Recordings available.

Reach for the Stars With Farm to Preschool: This resource helps child care centers and family child care homes integrate farm to preschool activities into their curriculum. The resource is organized by four activities: edible gardening, farm field trips and farmer visits, local food classroom cooking activities and taste tests, and serving local food in daily meals.

A Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education (NFSN): This resource is intended for use by stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to facilitate a shared understanding of the early care and education sector and the natural opportunities to integrate farm to school initiatives into early care and education settings.

Seeding the Movement—Materials for Starting Your Own Farm to Preschool Mini-Grant Program (Ecotrust): This toolkit contains a collection of adaptable Word templates for developing a mini-grant application, selecting grantees, establishing a peer-to-peer network among grantees, and conducting evaluation and reporting.

Setting Up and Running a School Garden (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations): This guide is for anyone who is interested in starting or improving a school garden — teachers, parents, and/or community members.

State Farm to School Networks Toolkit (NFSN): The toolkit is designed to demonstrate best practices and lessons learned from existing state farm to school networks and to provide users with key strategies and approaches for developing and sustaining state farm to school networks.

This Week in the Garden: This is an example of regional work connecting fresh, healthy food with communities.  This particular program works with WIC, SNAP-ED and provides specific examples of  monthly gardening newsletter templates for providers to use in integrating Farm to Preschool into the classroom.

Vegetable Gardening in Containers (Texas A&M University Extension): Container vegetable gardening is a sure way to introduce children to the joys and rewards of vegetable gardening. Problems with soilborne diseases, pests, or poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden.

Food Safety

First Aid – Choking: Choking can be a life-threatening emergency. Follow these steps if one of your children is choking.

Food Allergies: Food allergies can cause serious reactions. Find out how to keep kids safe and respond in an emergency.

For Tribal Communities

My Native Plate and My Native Plate for Families (PDF): These handouts remind families about portion sizes and to include fruits, vegetables, grains and protein with every meal.

Physical Activity Kit for Young Children (PAK) — Staying on the Active Path in Native Communities
(PDF): This vast resource for child care providers contains culturally appropriate physical activities and movements for babies, toddlers and preschool children.

Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

Budget for More Fruits and Vegetables (Better Kid Care): Fruits and vegetables are essential in everyday meal planning. This resource can help you extend your fruit and vegetable resources and also keep your budget manageable.

CACFP Menu Planning Guide: This resource, developed by Nemours and funded by the USDA, is a toolkit intended to serve as a practical, how-to guide for CACFP participants. It also includes 120 CACFP-reimbursable recipes.

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping for Your Early Child Care Program (pre-recorded webinar): Join Nemours Children’s Health System in a conversation around meal planning and grocery shopping.

Meal Planning, Shopping and Budgeting: Learn more about meal planning, shopping, and budgeting as well as food preparation and healthy, low-cost recipes from the USDA.

Processed Foods—What’s OK and What to Avoid (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics): While some processed foods should be consumed with caution, many have a place in a balanced diet. Here’s how to sort the nutritious from the not-so-nutritious.

Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Better Taste: This resource from the University of California Davis contains great reminders on where to store fruits and veggies. Print it out and hang the fridge as a reminder, or hand out to parents.

Supermarket Savings: This University of Nebraska Lincoln extension resource gives 16 tips with examples on how to save money when shopping.

Using the Nutrition Facts Label for Older Adults: This resource from the FDA is helpful for adults to manage their health and learn more about food labels.

Your Food Is Trying To Tell You Something — A Video for Kids on Using the Nutrition Facts Label to Make Healthy Dietary Choices (USDA/FDA): This colorful animated video short for kids focuses on using the Nutrition Facts Label to make healthy dietary choices.


Alternatives to Using Food as a Reward: This job aid from Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA) lists alternatives to using sweet treats as rewards or as comfort food.

Choose My Plate Print Materials: Choose My Plate has a number of tip sheets available to print in English and Spanish. Topics include: Kid-Friendly Veggies and FruitsCut Back on Kids’ Sweet Treats and many more.

Making the Most of Meal Times: Includes tips on family style dining, encouraging children to eat a variety of healthy foods, and engaging children in pleasant conversation during meals.

Healthy Celebrations

Creative Activities

Ghoulishly Great Ideas for Halloween Parties and Trick-Or-Treating from the Center for Science in the Public Interest

Healthy and Active Classroom Parties from Action for Healthy Kids

Healthy Celebrations at School from the Sacramento City Unified School District

Make Celebrations Fun, Healthy and Active from MyPlate

Make Healthier Holiday Choices from MyPlate

Monthly Healthy Celebration Ideas from the Center for Science in the Public Interest

School Celebration Ideas from North Carolina’s Eat Smart Move More


Menu/Snack Ideas

Celebration Tips from Alliance for Healthier Generation

Classroom Snacks and Celebrations from the Iowa City Community School District

Enjoy Foods From Many Cultures from MyPlate

Healthy Celebrations from the Kansas State Department of Education

Ideas for Healthy Celebrations from the Connecticut State Department of Education

Making Celebrations Healthier from Eco-Healthy Child Care



Classroom Celebrations Resources from Weld County in Greenley, Colorado

Healthy School Celebration Guide from University of Colorado Health

Let’s Party from the West Virginia Department of Education

School Wellness Policy: Best Practices for Policy Development, Implementation and Evaluation from the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction

USDA Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit

Healthy Eating & Recipes

CACFP Creditable Recipes: The National CACFP Sponsors Association has lots of great recipes for menu planning, including recipes from favorite Sesame Street characters.

CACFP Recipes from Around the World: Delicious kid-friendly dishes from North, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Pacific Islands.

Cooking With Preschoolers: It may take a little flexibility and prep work, but time in the kitchen with preschoolers can be educational, boost kids’ confidence and promote healthy eating.

Exploring Foods Together: Help young children learn to love healthy food. Exploring Food Together is a toolkit of simple activities to help kids learn about new foods and start building the skills to make healthy food choices.

Healthy from the Start: In this booklet, you will learn how meal and snack times give you a chance to help children learn healthy eating habits; feel important, loved, understood and respected; trust that others will care for them; and feel good about their bodies.

Healthy Habits for Life: Food and Drink to Grow On: The Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit gives you the tools you need to teach children about eating right and being physically active so that they can establish healthy habits for life. This section offers easy and fun ideas and activities to help children learn about fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.

Leftover Smart Snacks (Better Kid Care): Many caregivers are concerned about rising food costs. Discover easy cost-effective strategies for lunch and snack times that can help lower food costs and food waste.

Multicultural Recipes: Delicious foods from different regions for child care centers and family day homes (downloadable PDF).

Nutrition Guide for Toddlers: This article reviews the variety of food a toddler should receive, how much food they need, and the need for milk and iron at this stage in life.

Recipes for Healthy Kids — Cookbook for Child Care Centers: The recipes in the cookbook feature foods both children and adults should consume more of: dark green and orange vegetables, dry beans and peas, and whole grains. All of these healthy recipes are low in total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

Snacks for Preschoolers: Wholesome and well-timed snacks can help fill in nutritional gaps for preschoolers. Turn your kids into smart snackers by getting creative with healthy foods.

Snacks for Toddlers: Some toddlers may seem too busy exploring to slow down and eat. Others may be fickle about food. That’s where healthy, scheduled snacks come in.

Storytime Snacks, Sandwich Makeovers, and Taste Tests (Better Kid Care): This is a helpful list of lunch and snack ideas and nutrition resource pages.

Strategies for Feeding a Preschooler: The preschool years are a great time to teach children about healthy food choices in new and exciting ways.

Super Easy Snacks, Tips for Trying New Foods, and Dietary Cautions (Better Kid Care): Use these easy, fun tips to help you eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

Toddlers at the Table — Avoiding Power Struggles: By anticipating problems and offering choices, you can teach toddlers healthy eating habits and avoid power struggles about food.

Washington Grown Food Kit: Healthy recipes for child care and early education programs searchable by recipes in season, sample menus and nutrition facts.

What’s Cooking: A robust resource from the USDA about healthy eating and cooking tips; includes recipes for large groups to help with menu planning.

Responsive Feeding


Development of Infant Feeding Skills (USDA WIC Works): This resource provides an overview of the development of feeding skills, the rate of acquisition of skills, and the feeding relationship.

Developmental Stages in Infant and Toddler Feeding (Infant and Toddler Forum): This factsheet aims to provide childcare professionals with an evidence-based description of the developmental stages observed around food and feeding in infants and young children.

Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Young Toddlers: A Responsive Parenting Approach (Healthy Eating Research): This report presents evidence-based recommendations for promoting healthy nutrition and feeding patterns for infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months.

Infant Development and Feeding Support: Developmental milestones are used as markers to ensure that infants and toddlers are growing in a healthy direction. During early years, a child’s relationship with food is crucial for his or her health and development. Learning the physical stages that relate to feeding is important to understanding this process.

Infant Developmental Skills (USDA WIC Works): This job aid illustrates infant developmental skills and infant hunger cues in a convenient chart format.

Infant Food and Feeding (American Academy of Pediatrics): Explore information about breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, solid food introduction, healthy snacking, self-feeding, and healthy drinks for babies and toddlers.

Infant Responsive Feeding and Breastfeeding (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment): A collection of infant responsive feeding and breastfeeding resources, including Healthy Children: Ages and Stages, Baby Behavior, Building a Foundation for Healthy Active Living, and Infant Nutrition.

Infant States and Cues (United States Department of Agriculture): A convenient handout illustrating six infant states (deep sleep, light sleep, drowsy, quiet alert, irritable, crying) and cues (engagement and disengagement).

Responsive Feeding (UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health): Includes handouts on responsive feeding and a culturally adaptable responsive feeding curriculum.

Responsive Feeding Help Sheet (SMA Nutrition UK): A guide for parents to learn about responsive feeding, understand the benefits, and how to apply it to breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.

Understanding the Behavior of Term Infants — Infant Behavior, Reflexes and Cues (March of Dimes): Learn about how to read infant behavior. Infant behavior is influenced by environment, temperament and the ability of the infant to self-regulate. Behaviors are often cues that signal an infant’s needs.


Online Professional Development

Picky Eaters: A Guide to Responsive Feeding (K7.13 C2) (CDA2) – Better Kid Care On-Demand Lessons (2 hrs)

Responsive Feeding for Infants and Young Toddlers: Responsive Feeding is an online course for early care and education (ECE) providers about responsive feeding best practices and on how to implement these best practices. (40 min)


Research Articles

An Early Feeding Practices Intervention for Obesity Prevention

Feeding Practices of Low-Income Mothers: How do they compare to current recommendations?

Outcomes of an Early Feeding Practices Intervention to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Responsive Feeding: Establishing healthy eating behavior early on in life

Responsive Feeding is Embedded in a Theoretical Framework of Responsive Parenting

The Role of Responsive Feeding in Overweight During Infancy and Toddlerhood — A Systematic Review



Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Young Toddlers: A Responsive Parenting Approach (from Healthy Eating Research)

Responsive Feeding: Understanding When and How to Develop a Feeding Relationship With Infants (from Military Families Learning Network)


Training and Webinars

Giving Healthy Kids Healthy Futures: What Happens When Federal and State Initiatives Come to Local Communities and Programs (The Early Care and Education Innovations Webinar Series)

Healthy and Affordable Recipes for Your Child Care Program (Nemours Children’s Health System): Explore ways to incorporate healthy and affordable recipes into your program. Participants will learn strategies for cooking healthy meals on a budget; discover delicious vegetarian, multicultural, and seasonal recipes; and identify ways to transform processed and pre-packaged foods into a healthy meal or snack.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Future – Nurture Healthy Eaters: This learning module from PennState and Better Kid Care will help ECE providers identify the benefits of offering healthy food, understand how to provide healthy food choices, determine strategies and ideas to encourage healthy eating, and learn about resources available.

Keeping All of Us Healthy: What You Can Do At Your Program: Learn about how to include healthy eating and physical activity in your program. Panelists will discuss ways that they use child-focused strategies, strategies to help staff act as models, and connections with families.

Keeping All Of Us Healthy: Why We Value Activity and Nutrition in Early Care and Education (slides): Learn why healthy eating and physical activity are important in ECE programs and some of the factors that impact childhood obesity. Use these slides as handouts or additional training materials.


A Critical Head Start for Preschoolers — Eating Healthy Foods: Mount Hood Community College Head Start brings local fruits and vegetables to the table and into child care programs.

Farm to Keiki — Wellness Taking Root: See how one center is incorporating Farm to Preschool activities in their program — from gardening and cooking with kids to serving local food.

The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition released seven short videos (available on their YouTube channel) on how to teach children about nutrition during meals. These videos teach child care providers how to encourage movement and motor skills; physical activity; new food tastes, textures and colors; nutritional benefits of eating healthy foods; healthy portion size; verbal praise; and how to put all these skills together.

Helping Children to Serve Themselves: When children practice self-serving at meals they learn about healthy portions, minimizing waste, and develop motor and social skills.

Long Island Head Start–Sowing the Seeds of the Future: Long Island Head Start children learn to be fit, have fun and enjoy nutritious meals.

MyPlate Videos: Combines nutritional information with inspirational stories from American families, as part of an overall effort to help people find healthy eating solutions and develop a personalized healthy eating style that fits within their overall lifestyle.

Starting Family Style Dining Part 1  and Part 2: One program shares best practices about family style dining and how to make it a success. Learn tips to help you switch to family style dining in your program.

Why Are Children Reluctant to Try New Foods? Hear child feeding expert Susan Johnson discuss how you can encourage kids to try new foods.